At least 24 students from the Sacramento area remain stranded in Afghanistan, down from an initial estimate of 150 students who have not returned to the area’s schools since the school year began, according to officials with the San Juan Unified School District.
“Our office has been in close contact with the San Juan Unified School District, and has urgently flagged the students’ information with the State Department and Department of Defense,” the office of U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., said in a statement to The Sacramento Bee. “We have not received an update from the State Department or the DOD.”
Bera’s office became involved after the newspaper reported about two girls who are stranded overseas. The girls, ages 9 and 15, traveled to Afghanistan in July with their mother to be with their father before his death on July 27 of cancer. Their 21-year-old sister, in Sacramento, is fighting to bring her family home.
The mother and daughters have been staying with family in Kabul and were not able to get to the airport to return to Sacramento, the newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, many refugees who have fled Afghanistan will likely be resettled in the Sacramento area, which has been one of the largest destinations for special visa holders for several years.
A reported one out of every nine natives of Afghanistan lives in the Sacramento region, with about 9,700 in Sacramento County, more than any other county nationwide, according to census data. Another 2,000 native Afghans have settled in Yolo, Sutter, Placer, or El Dorado counties.