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More funding for refugee resettlement agencies as the number of Afghan evacuees to WNY increases

The governor's office now says nearly 500 Afghan evacuees are expected to arrive in Buffalo and 50 to Niagara Falls.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — More money is on the way to assist refugee resettlement agencies across New York State, as they continue to respond to an influx of evacuees from Afghanistan.

We're also getting new numbers on just how many evacuees from Afghanistan Western New York will receive.

The funding comes at an important time as the number of Afghan refugees coming to Buffalo ticks upward.

It's been over three months since the deadly bombing at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, that killed 13 U.S. service members.  

Since then, Afghan refugees have been fleeing to the U.S.

New York State expects to relocate nearly 1,800 Afghan evacuees. 

On Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced an additional $2 million for refugee resettlement agencies -- boosting the state's commitment to $5 million. 

"We're going to be providing medical care, mental health treatment because of the incredible stress that individuals who've been displaced from their world that they always knew growing up," said Governor Kathy Hochul, "I know that this is going to be money well spent that we can help them have the resources they need to provide for that first home, help people get information how to get to a job and get an education."

The Governor's Office now says nearly 500 Afghan evacuees are expected to arrive in Buffalo -- 50 in Niagara Falls. 

Some are already here -- others will arrive early next year.

"New York stories have always been one of the immigrants and these brave Afghan refugees are here to write the next chapter in that great story," Hochul said. 

At Jericho Road Community Health Center, Afghan refugees have received health screenings and ongoing medical care.

"There's a lot of needs particularly around the needs of trauma," said Jericho Road's chief medical officer, Dr. Anna Mongo. 

Mongo says the funding from the state comes as a surprise. 

"I think it's great news, this has been a unique resettlement process for a lot of different reasons, and especially toward the beginning we thought we were going to be getting no support from anywhere," Mongo said. 

And that overall, the local resettlement process has been smooth. 

"I have been so thrilled at the way the partners have all come together and really worked on a group effort to ensure this population has everything they needed," Mongo said. 

Mongo says Afghan refugees will be vaccinated against the coronavirus when they get here. 

Some of SUNY's campuses are partnering with local agencies to house evacuees in vacant dorms. SUNY will also provide laptops to Afghan evacuees to provide access to educational programming. 

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