The first group of people evacuated from Afghanistan after the Taliban’s dramatic occupation is to be released from MIQ in the next few days.
Three hundred and seventy evacuees from the country managed to escape safely with the help of the New Zealand Defense Force before a terrorist attack on Kabul Airport abruptly ended New Zealand evacuation flights.
The evacuees are a mix of New Zealand passport holders as well as people who have worked for various New Zealand agencies, including Defense, and their families over the past 20 years.
For many people, leaving their home was suddenly dangerous and extremely painful and they will need to be helped to fit into New Zealand life.
Kairullah Azizi, of the Afghan Association, said the cultural shock would be huge for many of those who left with little notice and are now in a very foreign country.
Many of them have only brought clothes on their backs, this was a job that was done very quickly and so they will need some help with clothes or food and shoes etc. until they come back. ۔ At their feet.
“Language, food and even the weather will be the first surprise for them,” he said.
As a community, as Afghans we have to help them with things like coming home, food, etc. and in the beginning we have to help them and take them to places, whether it is the appointment of doctors or the appointment of language. Centers where they are going to learn English and obviously they need some kind of help around so that they can help themselves and later stand on their own two feet.
Diamond Kazmi is a former refugee from Afghanistan.
He believes that from his experience as a refugee, the first few months in New Zealand will be difficult for newcomers.
Support I think they will really need housing, education and looking for new jobs, but yes for the first two months it will be very difficult to adapt to this community and society. Adopting a culture that is important to some of them. Not for everyone.
He hopes that once his initial interest in the plight is lost, he will not be left alone and forgotten.
It would be really good or helpful for these people to have the continued support of networks, volunteers, community groups to make sure that these people are really adapting to society and get their help and services in the first few New Zealand. Are doing Months, even the first 12 months I think.
Pancha Narayanan, president of the Federation of Multicultural Councils, said the first group had been in the country for two weeks and would lose sight of what had happened to them.
What they left behind are the scenes they saw before they left. Pain, trauma, anger. It will not be easy to deal with these feelings immediately. All that New Zealand needs to do is be very kind and compassionate in the early days of their settlement.
A helpline has been set up to help newcomers, he said.
At the end of this helpline are people who speak two basic languages (of Afghanistan), Pashto and Dari, which anyone can call for help or some sympathy.
“Afghans have come from the area of conflict and will go astray,” said the chief executive of Auckland’s main mental health and welfare service, Refugee Outstanding.
He said it would take some time for him to re-establish himself.
They are working in a very unusual situation so they will probably be under a lot of pressure. They will be very sorry to leave, a lot of people didn’t want to leave, I’m sure. They have chosen to live there and many of them, especially some Kiwis who I think have been there for many years, will be very sad and sad to be left behind. What is going to happen. Big problem
Immigration New Zealand said settlement case officers would be assigned to each family to help with their ongoing needs.
“A lot of people have had a traumatic experience and it will take time before there is a dialogue to establish their needs,” he said.
Fiona Whitridge, New Zealand’s general manager for immigration and immigration services, said she was committed to ensuring that people here would be connected to the community for the first time.
“The government has arranged temporary accommodation for those who are soon to be isolated and quarantined and have no alternative accommodation options. The government is also working on long-term housing options where needed.