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'The Situation Is Really Tragic': The Crisis In Afghanistan Will Lead Some Refugees To Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As chaos continues in Afghanistan, refugee organizations in Chicago are bracing for impact.

CBS 2's Asal Rezai reports, a surge of Afghan refugees is expected in the coming weeks.

Right now, refugee organizations across Chicago are focused on making sure they have everything in place for Afghans that are and will be seeking refuge.

RefugeeOne is banding together with other organizations to get ready to take on a surge of refugees from Afghanistan.

"Things have been changing in Afghanistan day by day. And the situation is really tragic, you know? We have some individuals that we work with here who we've already welcomed from Afghanistan in the past few years, who still have family there," said Jims Porter of the organization. "So there's a lot of uncertainty around whether they'll be able to get out of the country."

Jims Porter, is in charge of advovacy for RefugeeOne in Chicago. He said they have the capacity to help at least 700 refugees, if they can get here.

"We do anticipate seeing an influx and individuals coming from Afghanistan," Porter said. "Some will come as refugees, but the majority will come as special immigrant visa holders. We call them SIVs"

SIVs are typically people who have helped the U.S. forces overseas, as either interpreters, guides or clerks, getting them out of Afghanistan is a top priority.

It's same story for the Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance, who said they expect the refugee surge to be similar to the Syrian and Iraqi crisis about 10 years ago.

"We started in the same situation with SIV is coming from Iraq, in 2008 2009," said Laura Youngberg, Executive Director of the organization. "And so we're really preparing for that same kind of process of helping people who maybe know a lot of Americans worked as translators interpreters, so forth, but who you know I've never been here, and our systems are so different."

For now these organizations are working together to help the families that are already here to get in touch with their families overseas.

"One of the gentlemen that we work with he and His wife and children recently became USA. They've been here for a little over five years now. But his wife and his daughters were actually in Afghanistan visiting this last week when everything happened. And so we've been trying to work with US intelligence agencies," said Porter.

The Middle Eastern Immigrant and Refugee Alliance added they have the capacity to help up to one thousand refugee families. Those families would be placed in affordable housing throughout the city.

The uncertainty still lies in how and when they can get families out of Afghanistan and to Chicago.

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