Afghan evacuation flights resume after measles outbreak

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Afghan evacuation flights resume after measles outbreak

The Biden administration is turning a Wisconsin military base into a “small city” of Afghan refugees, as inbound flights resume following a measles outbreak that delayed evacuations for three weeks.

Roughly 49,000 evacuees were vaccinated against measles at US military bases where they are being housed temporarily and at transit points in Europe and the Middle East, the Department of Homeland Security said.​​

The outbreak affected 24 people and brought the evacuation effort, dubbed ​Operation Allies Welcome, to a standstill, stranding about 15,000 abroad. 

“The success of this vaccination campaign demonstrates our commitment to the health and well-being of arriving Afghan evacuees, the personnel assisting this mission, and the American people,” said Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, the DHS chief medical officer and lead medical adviser of the operation.  

“Operation Allies Welcome reflects the best of our country and this vaccination effort could not have been achieved without the dedication of local health care facilities and partnership between the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, State, and Homeland Security​,” Gandhi said.​​

Along with the measles vaccine, arriving evacuees are getting shots for polio, COVID-19, mumps, rubella and chickenpox that most Americans get in childhood.​

Afghans gather outside the passport office.
Roughly 49,000 evacuees were vaccinated against measles at US military bases and at transit points in Europe and the Middle East.
STRINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

They are also tested for coronavirus, and about 84 percent of the evacuees in the US and overseas have received the COVID shot, officials said. 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has reportedly turned a military base in Wisconsin into a “small city” for refugees complete with “culturally appropriate clothing and food.”

Fort McCoy in Wisconsin is one of eight military bases across the country temporarily holding the refugees, but it holds the largest number, Time magazine reported

A member of the military speaks to reporters.
Arriving evacuees are also getting vaccinated for polio, COVID-19, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.
Barbara Davidson/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

About 12,600 families are living at the base since they began arriving in late August and are assigned to eight neighborhoods where they receive services and support, including English classes.

Another report said the military bases holding Afghans are experiencing crime. 

Afghan refugees stand outside housing.
The Biden administration has reportedly turned a military base in Wisconsin into a “small city” for refugees.
Barbara Davidson/Pool via REUTERS

The FBI is investigating an alleged assault against a female service member by Afghan men at Fort Bliss in Texas, the New York Times reported.

It also said a military police officer reported seeing a 24-year-old Afghan sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl at a base in Virginia.  

And some young Afghan women told the newspaper that they were harassed by Afghan men at the base. 

Afghan refugees look for donated clothing.
Incidents of harassment have been reported at some bases by Afghan women and the FBI is investigating an alleged assault against a female service member.
Barbara Davidson/Pool via AP

“We were told, ‘How are you here without your male family member? We won’t tolerate this,’” Nilab Ibrahimy, 23, ​told the Times.

She reported the incident to military officials and she and other women were moved to another barracks.

With Post wires

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