Processing facility set up at JFK to house Afghan evacuees

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Processing facility set up at JFK to house Afghan evacuees

A processing facility to house arriving Afghan refugees is being set up inside a cargo building at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, The Post has learned.

Officials with Homeland Security, New York City Emergency Services, the Port Authority and other city agencies were spotted setting up the facility inside the airport’s Building 87 on Tuesday.

Emergency personnel were seen erecting metal crowd control dividers and razor wire fencing, as well as folding chairs and tables.

The Post also observed military personnel unloading furniture, including desks and bed bases, from a truck.

Hundreds of crates of water, several refrigerators and boxes of what appeared to be dried food were dropped off first thing Tuesday.

At least four New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services trucks were also stationed outside.

NY Port Authority and NYC Emergency Management begin to prepare Building 87
The White House has so far refused to say how many Afghans will be taken in by the US.
Matthew McDermott

When asked about the preparations, a Homeland Security employee on the ground confirmed to The Post that it was for potential incoming Afghan evacuees.

It was not immediately clear when the refugees would begin arriving at Building 87.

Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for the Port Authority said Homeland Security was overseeing the charter process for Afghan evacuees arriving in the US and that any preparations at JFK were for “contingency planning.”

At the intake Abbey Gate, British and American security forces maintain order amongst the Afghan evacuees waiting to leave, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
At the intake Abbey Gate, British and American security forces maintain order among Afghan evacuees waiting to leave, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES TIMES/POLARIS

The pending arrival of Afghan evacuees in New York comes after the US finalized its withdrawal from Kabul overnight, bringing an end to the frantic mass evacuations over the last two weeks that cost the lives of 13 US service members and more than 180 Afghans.

The White House has so far refused to say how many Afghans will be taken in by the US.

More than 79,000 civilians had been flown out of the airport on US military aircraft since Aug. 14 — including 6,000 Americans and 73,500 Afghans and third-country citizens, according to US officials.

NY Port Authority and NYC Emergency Management refugees
Matthew McDermott

Currently, Afghan evacuees arriving in the US are being brought to various airbases, including Virginia’s Fort Lee, Fort Bliss in Texas, Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

As of late last week, there were already 21,000 Afghans at those airbases, officials said.

Additional bases are being set up in Virginia’s Marine Corps Base Quantico and Fort Pickett and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico to house extra evacuees.

The Defense Department said the airbases would be able to host 50,000 evacuees and they expected to reach that capacity by Sept. 15.

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