Fatema Mohammadi, an Afghan refugee who came to Durham, N.C. from Kabul, Afghanistan with some of her family members, shares her thoughts and fears on the Taliban takeover of her home. Her younger sister, Zahra Mohammadi, translated her words. BY JULIA WALL
It was a busy afternoon earlier this month as new workers moved in and employees carried boxes and paperwork from one room to another of the two-story John O’Daniel Exchange building on the edge of East Durham.
World Relief Durham, a local branch of the national, faith-based, refugee resettlement agency, was expanding in an unprecedented way.
After major cuts in federal funding for refugee agencies during the Trump administration, President Joe Biden approved $100 million in emergency aid for Afghan refugees July 24, just as the last U.S. troops trickled out of Afghanistan.
Adam Clark, the director of World Relief Durham, said the closest thing to what resettlement agencies like his are experiencing happened in the late 1970s after the Vietnam War.
“This isn’t a typical situation for refugee resettlement evacuation,” Clark said. “Sudden flights coming into military bases is not typically how the process works.”