ATLANTA - Georgia will soon be home to more than a thousand Afghan evacuees who fled the country when the Taliban seized control.
"Many people had to literally walk away from their homes. Make a decision that I am leaving right now," said Justin Howell, the executive director of the International Rescue Organization in Atlanta.
Now, those evacuees are at military bases across the US.
Howell spent about two weeks at a base out of state to help process the evacuees and coordinate with other local and federal agencies.
"I saw families that had American citizen's in them, families that had legal permanent residence or green card holders in there. We had families where three or four were citizens and the rest had no visa at all. We had SIV holders, we had people who applied for SIVs, but the vast majority of the people are going to fall under humanitarian parolee status," Howell said.
Howell said 1,080 evacuees will head to Georgia in the next six months, and about 800 will be taken in by the IRC Atlanta.
That's almost as many as the total number of Afghans the organization has helped resettle over the last two decades.
"I keep referring to this as a generational event. I think when they talk about events in history and they talk about events 20 years from now, reflections back on the 2020s, this is going to be a narrative of what we all experienced," Howell said.
Once the evacuees arrive, the members of the organization will help with things like healthcare, education, housing, and helping them find jobs.
Howell points out, however, this wouldn't be possible without support.
"It is a community-supported endeavor. This is something the federal government alone cannot do, something like agencies like the IRC alone cannot do. But in partnership with communities, we know this will another story that is a part of our long history here in Atlanta and it'll be another successful one," Howell said.