PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia International Airport has been a vital part in getting Afghanistan evacuees into the United States following the Taliban takeover in Kabul. The detailed process involves more than just getting people to the City of Brotherly Love.
Dr. Maura Sammon with Temple Health told CBS3 getting evacuees healthy goes beyond a medical exam.READ MORE: Pennsylvania High Court OKs 'Comfort Dogs' For Witnesses
“They’ve also been through a ton of trauma, and we really want to make sure we are compassionate in the care we’re providing for them,” she said.
It’s been a congregated effort getting arriving Afghans processed and placed somewhere to stay. The volunteer-based group Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps has been activated to help.
Einstein Healthcare’s Dr. Rohit Gulati is part of that effort and says it’s an honor.
“It’s incredible to keep the families safe and secure and a unit, and I think the families really appreciate that. So yeah, welcome to the City of Brotherly Love,” Dr. Gulati said.READ MORE: Woman Killed After Shooting Inside Kensington Home, Police Say
All arriving evacuees get tested for COVID, along with other medical screenings. If needed, they get urgent care treatment or transportation to a hospital.
The process requires some delicacy as well, with many children struggling to understand the onslaught of changes – all with smiles on their faces.
“These kids are just incredible,” Dr. Sage Myers with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said. “They are happy, they are smiling, they are grateful.”
That gratitude is a two-way street. Robin Wood with Penn Medicine told CBS3 the opportunity to help during evacuees’ difficult times is heartwarming.
“It’s incredibly gratifying to be able to hopefully make a difference in the individuals’ lives, to help them get to a stable and safe place,” Wood said.MORE NEWS: Cars Towed, Scrapped In Wilmington Leads To Federal Lawsuit
Many of the people evacuated from Afghanistan are being sent to Joint Base McGuire in Burlington County, New Jersey. The base hopes to expand its capacity to 10,000 by next week.