HAYWARD (KPIX 5) — A parking lot in Hayward was turned into a relief center Thursday as the East Bay Afghan community came together to help refugees escaping from the chaos in Kabul.
Masjid Muhajireen was organizing to help refugees trying to escape Afghanistan, but the latest events in Kabul may have changed the course of the effort.READ MORE: PG&E Charged With Manslaughter For Sparking Wildfire That Killed 4
“This has all been over the course of about two to three hours,” said Belal Mogaddedi, referencing the growing pile of donations behind him.
The donations came by the carload; clothes, baby supplies, just about anything a family might need if they were starting from scratch.
“Our efforts here today are to benefit the people that are coming in, the refugees that are going to be placed here in the Bay Area,” Mogaddedi explained.
For anyone hoping to leave Afghanistan, the path out is now more precarious than ever.READ MORE: UPDATE: Thousands Forced To Flee Fawn Fire; 'I See My Life Gone;' Arson Suspected As Blaze Burns Homes
“Well the 31st is the day we’re looking at, but today’s bombings have extensively change the circumstances,” said immigration attorney Spojmie Nasiri. “The gates are closed, so basically we’re talking not the 31st but pretty much today. Whoever made it in made it in.”
Nasiri said the focus now will be on the 1,500 or so Americans still in the country. Time may have run out for others hoping to escape.
She has been working with more than a dozen clients who have the proper credentials to leave, but have not been able to safely reach the airport.
“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “I’ve only been able to get four out of 15 clients out. The rest we keep trying and keep trying. Now I don’t know where they are and I can’t get a hold of them.”
But there are thousands of refugees on the way now. It’s expected that many will ultimately land here in the Bay Area.MORE NEWS: Three Charged With Allegedly Ripping Off $2 Million In EDD Unemployment Benefits
“We’re a little behind the eight ball,” said Mogaddedi. “But it’s events like this that will help provide the supply for the demand.”