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Afghan evacuees have begun arriving in Maine, and more are expected this week

Ari Snider
Maine Public
Two Afghan families landed at the Portland Jetport last week, where they were greeted by friends and family members.

The first group of Afghan evacuees destined for Maine has arrived after being processed at U.S. military bases, and more families are expected to arrive this week.

Two Afghan families touched down at the Portland Jetport last Thursday, according to Catholic Charities Maine, which is leading the resettlement process.

Hannah DeAngelis, director of refugee and immigration services for Catholic Charities, said the scene at the airport has been filled with emotion.

"Folks have been greeted by their entire families and even groups of friends at the jetport, in addition to our case management team,” DeAngelis said. “People are bringing flowers and gifts and balloons and it is a very celebratory environment.”

DeAngelis said two more families will arrive this week.

The first arrivals are those with family ties to Maine and are staying in the greater Portland area.

Catholic Charities has been approved to resettle up to 100 Afghans in Maine through next March.