PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia International Airport became the second passenger airport in the United States to welcome Afghan refugees. CBS3 was there as the plane landed Saturday morning.
“This is what America is about,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “Helping people in need and not turning people away or building walls.”READ MORE: 'Most Egregious Story I've Ever Heard': Local Man Has Prostate Removed After Mistaken Cancer Diagnosis
Kenney spoke on welcoming refugees from Afghanistan to Philadelphia. The mayor said the city had three days’ notice to put systems in place to welcome them.
“This is a terrible situation, but it makes you feel good that you can be of some help to these folks in need,” he said.
News outlets were kept away, but the American Red Cross, military personnel, the Philadelphia Fire Department, and doctors from Temple University were on hand for the refugees’ arrival.
READ MORE: One Of Last Marines To Leave Afghanistan Returns Home To Hero's Welcome In Ridley Township
The @RedCrossPhilly, @PhillyFireDept, military personnel and volunteers are on hand at @PHLAirport helping refugees from #Afghanistan. A plane landed earlier this morning. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/AvJyLDA3oq
— Howard Monroe (@HMonroeNews) August 28, 2021
The city stockpiled water, food, sanitary supplies, and diapers for the arrivals.
Kenney says the city’s role will be to process the refugees and provide transportation to their next destination. Some will stay in Philadelphia or surrounding areas, while others will be transported to military bases before being settled elsewhere.
COVID-19 testing is available for those arriving and so are vaccines.
Over 100,000 people have been evacuated out of Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country’s government.
“They’re traumatized with children with them,” Kenney said. “We just want to have open arms and a welcoming atmosphere for them.”
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, a Camden warehouse is being used as a backup processing facility for refugees. It will assist those arriving at the airport and McGuire Air Force Base.MORE NEWS: WATCH: Surveillance Video Catches Olney Drive-By Shooting That Killed 1, Injured 5
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also created a task force on Afghan refugee assistance.