Mexico City, Mexico, September 1, 2021 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) announced the launch of a rapid emergency response to support a group of 175 Afghan evacuees that arrived in Mexico’s capital city on August 31.
The IRC has worked to deliver aid in Afghanistan crisis after crisis for 30 years. As growing uncertainty in the country has forced people to leave, the IRC is delivering emergency responses and supporting resettlement efforts in countries where Afghan evacuees are arriving, like the U.S., Uganda and now Mexico.
As part of the response in Mexico, the IRC is assisting the Afghan families and individuals upon arrival at the airport, assembling a team to welcome them and provide legal assistance to ensure that they could obtain the Mexican Humanitarian Visa, allowing them to stay in the country, while not affecting future asylum processes in other countries. During the first hours in Mexico, the IRC also provided COVID-19 testing; delivered emergency medical care; gave welcome kits with food and hydration supplies, hygiene products, infant care items, and personal protection equipment; and facilitated transportation and accommodation.
Raymundo Tamayo, the IRC’s Country Director for Mexico, said:
“We will continue to support Afghan evacuees, now as they arrive in Mexico. Our response represents the IRC's dedication to supporting Afghanistan through the arc of crisis, from delivering humanitarian aid inside the country where needs are most acute, to receiving people as they arrive to safety and providing much needed resettlement assistance.
“Mexico has a long history of welcoming evacuees and asylum seekers when conflict has hit the hardest; we recognize the efforts by Mexican authorities to respond during these uncertain times for Afghan citizens. We are currently in process of signing an agreement with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support in the response to the needs of Afghan families and individuals arriving in the country.
"At the IRC, we have identified Mexico as a strategic location to respond to the migration crises in Latin America, and even potentially to displacements from other parts of the world. International cooperation and funding are critical to support and strengthen existing protection and asylum systems and policies to guarantee people’s integrity, regardless of their nationality or status.”
The IRC will continue delivering services to support Afghan evacuees for the time needed to resettle in Mexico or reach their final destination in a safe manner. The services planned for the first months of the response include medical attention with primary health physicians; psychological first aid; multipurpose cash cards to enable people to purchase items according to their priority needs; mobile phones with local SIM cards and data; transportation; cultural orientation sessions; and a screening and identification of specific needs process that will inform the design of a humanitarian response in the long term.
Afghanistan is one of the IRC’s longest-standing programs, established in 1988. Over the years our support has proven critical to the safety, education and wellbeing of millions of Afghans. We work with thousands of communities across eight provinces, reaching over one million people each year through programs spanning emergency response, education, protection, water and sanitation, and economic recovery programs. Our health response includes support for over 100 health facilities responding to COVID-19 and other health needs. The IRC is a leading actor in the protection field specializing in responding to the needs of vulnerable populations. To make a donation to the IRC's emergency response in Afghanistan, click here or visit Rescue.org
About the IRC in Mexico
The IRC is responding along the main migration corridors in Mexico: from the southern to the northern borders. With its programing, the IRC offers a timely and comprehensive response to the most urgent needs of people on the move, including prevention and response to gender-based violence; access to critical information through InfoDigna—a multi-channel information platform part of the Global SignPost project; prevention and mitigation of COVID-19; economic recovery and development; child protection services; as well as identifying needs and referring cases to local service providers. Additionally, the IRC is supporting local integration efforts by providing cultural orientation to individuals who have chosen to stay in Mexico.