KING COUNTY, Wash. - President Joe Biden said the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is on track for Aug. 31, but tens of thousands of Americans and allies are still waiting to evacuate out of Kabul.
"We kept on hearing from folks on the ground that temporary housing was the biggest and most immediate need and we wanted to do whatever it was that we could to make sure it was filled," said Christopher Nulty, Head of Global Public Affairs at Airbnb.
Airbnb announced that it will provide temporary housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees around the world, including in the Seattle area.
"The crisis in Afghanistan and the need to resettle tens of thousands of Afghanis is one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time," said Nulty. "Our part of the puzzle is making sure they have a place to stay that is comfortable and feels something like home for the first couple weeks if they’re here in the United States."
Navid Hamidi is a former translator for the U.S. military and government. He received an SIV and resettled in South King County back in 2014.
"Those people not only risk their life but they are risking their family," said Navid Hamidi. "My family is right now stuck in Afghanistan. I have two sisters, they are actively trying to apply for a special immigration visa (SIV). They were involved with the U.S. Army."
His parents and one of his sisters are in hiding and waiting for the signal to go to the airport in Kabul.
"My sister had a baby like one week ago, and when you see the chaotic situation in Kabul airport, it makes it so hard for those people to get out," said Hamidi.
His other sister who is only 23-years-old managed to make it on a flight out of Kabul last week and is currently in Germany, but she believes the experience will scar her for life.
"She is still not understanding how to cope with the stress and trauma that she was facing from that," said Hamidi. "There were so many warning shots and the flashbangs that they were using. She was saying that for 24 to 48 hours after she went to Germany, she was not able to hear anything and she had that loud noise in her ears."
Hamidi is the Executive Director of Afghan Health Initiative which is also finding temporary housing solutions for incoming Afghan families. The nonprofit is run by former and current Afghan refugees who are mobilizing to raise emergency funds.
"All I can do is just pray for them and do whatever I can, so the future is uncertain," said Hamidi.
Q13 FOX is teaming up with World Relief Seattle to collect welcome kits for Afghan refugee families resettling in our area. Click to here to learn how you can support this cause.
If you are an Airbnb host who is interested in hosting an Afghan refugee family for a few days or weeks, Nulty said to head over to Airbnb’s website to get started by sharing about your space and when it’s available.
Stay connected with Q13 News on all platforms: