Catholic Social Service receives 170 Afghan refugees in Edmonton on Friday.

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The number of Afghan refugees in Edmonton has more than doubled since Friday, with 170 arriving in the city.

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According to Katherine Frison, director of immigration and resettlement services at the Catholic Social Service, this is the first large group of Afghan refugees. The group includes human rights activists and their families.

The refugees were hiding together and as a group they wanted to flee the Taliban to continue their work, Fresen said. She said they had fled to Pakistan and that on January 11, a Canadian charter plane had flown 250 people to Calgary.

Frisson said: “It took months for me to bring them from Canada to Canada.

“It’s a very logical challenge and then they throw the epidemic into the middle of everything and effective flight routes change, public health orders in different states are changing, even in Canada, this makes it very difficult to bring in people.

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Since August, CSS 118 has been hosting Afghan refugees in Edmonton and Red Deer.

Before arriving in Edmonton, Afghan refugees were ostracized in Toronto or Calgary. This is the first group isolation in the city. However, Frison said this group is different in another way.

“Because of the urgency of this group, they have not been able to do all the work to become permanent residents, which means they are on a temporary residence permit,” Frisson said.

“We need to start making sure that we can make them permanent residents in Canada because this will open the door to special services such as health care and for Canadian residents.”

CSS said it was working with the Immigration and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to ensure that the number of refugees was increasing.

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Frisson added that community support has helped.

“In addition, many volunteers have left the community. We have received an amazing response and people really want to support this group of newcomers.

Following their exclusion, Frison said they would work to make life easier for the refugees in Canada. You can open bank accounts, get social security numbers, find a permanent residence and more.

She says it is important to create a sense of community and ownership so that newcomers feel safe when they arrive in Canada because they are not from the right environment.

“Fleeing, fleeing violence, living in a safe country in the first place of asylum is a very difficult challenge,” Frison said.

“Our staff here at CSS are honored to be able to accompany this group of refugees to our community. They have done amazing things throughout their lives and are amazing people and we will be part of their first steps in Canada.

According to Frisson, the CSS is working to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees in Edmonton in the next few years.

Anyone who wants to support the CSS can donate to the Refugee Appeal Fund on its website to help rehabilitate Afghan refugees.

ktaniguchi@postmedia.com

twitter.com/kellentaniguchi

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