The man in charge of resettling the Afghan Afghan refugees called on Australians to wrap their arms around them because their level of need was “extreme”.
A resettlement expert tasked with coordinating Australia’s reception of Afghan refugees said their level of need is very severe.
Paris Aristotle said life was very difficult for Afghan citizens fleeing the Taliban, many of whom were desperate to leave their families behind.
“The shock will be very severe,” he told SBS on Monday.
Sir Aristotle called on Australians to welcome newcomers with open arms.
“The Australian people can wrap their arms around these people, tell them we want them to be here, that we’re happy to have them here, that we’re going to take care of them and take care of them,” he said.
The Australian government has allocated 3,000 places from the current humanitarian visa program to resettle Afghan refugees after the Taliban takeover.
The former Afghan government and its capital, Kabul, fell to the armed group earlier this month, sparking two weeks of violence and unrest.
The Australian evacuation mission ended late last week, as the military left Kabul hours before two bombs exploded killing more than 150 people including US soldiers and Afghan civilians.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australian forces had evacuated 4,100 people from “one of the most dangerous places on Earth” in a nine-day rescue mission.
It is not known exactly how many Australian citizens and Afghan visa holders have been left in Afghanistan.
Aristotle warned that some weak people are exploited in their desperation to escape.
“People are offering to fill out applications for $8,000 and they will be guaranteed a visa. In one case I heard $15,000. It doesn’t cost anything like that,” he said.
Mr. Aristotle, who was responsible for the resettlement of 12,000 Syrian refugees in Australia at the height of the civil war there, has been appointed as co-chair of the new advisory committee on the resettlement of Afghan nationals in Australia.