- Most of the 100 people who arrived Wednesday night intend to stay in the province.
- The refugees are former NATO staff who came to Canada from another country.
A group of 265 Afghan refugees arrived at Halifax’s Stanfield International Airport Wednesday night amid heavy snowfall, with 100 settling in Nova Scotia.
The remaining 165 refugees will not be settling in Nova Scotia and will instead travel to other parts of the country. Staff from the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) were on hand to assist the refugees in clearing customs and boarding buses for temporary housing.
“They have dressed appropriately for the weather, with jackets, boots, hats, and mittens,” executive director Jennifer Watts said. “Everyone was just relieved and grateful to be here.” ISANS will assist families in locating permanent housing, enrolling their children in school, conducting language assessments, and providing employment counseling.
According to Jennifer Watts, CEO of ISANS, even though the weather was snowy and cold when the refugees arrived on Wednesday, they were greeted warmly at the airport.
“We’re excited to have them here, and they’re excited,” she said. “They were exhausted, but they were excited to be here, to be settling in our community.”
ISANS, according to Watts, will help the refugees with things like finding housing, enrolling their children in school, assessing medical needs, and general life and language skills in the coming weeks.
Another important aspect is to better understand who they are, what their backgrounds are, and what their future hopes and desires are. “With refugees from anywhere in the world that we receive, there can often be a lot of trauma,” Watts explained.
ISANS, she said, has crisis counsellor teams and mental health professionals on staff and group sessions for people who may be struggling with trauma and their mental health.
Watts was unable to comment on where the refugees are currently residing. However, she acknowledged that finding permanent housing could be difficult given Nova Scotia’s ongoing housing crisis, though ISANS does have connections within the rental housing community.
Source: CBC News, Global news