Members of Congress visit Camp Atterbury
JOHNSON COUNTY, Indiana – Four members of the Indiana congressional delegation visited Camp Atterbury this week.
The military base is now home to more than 6,500 Afghan evacuees, according to Congressman Greg Pence (R-Indiana), who led the delegation’s visit.
“Base Commander Mike said yesterday that Camp Atterbury now has a larger population than neighboring Edinburgh,” said Representative Pence.
Congressman Pence said Monday marked his fourth visit to Camp Atterbury, this time joined by Representatives Andre Carson (D-Indiana), Jim Baird (R-Indiana) and Larry Bucshon (R-Indiana). Evacuees started arriving about a month ago.
Representative Pence said that while some of the evacuees are still learning American customs, he never saw anything unusual about conditions there.
“I did not see anything in any of my visits that I found to be an unhealthy or dangerous situation,” Pence said.
“These are just normal community issues that they had to deal with,” he added.
About 500 military police are on hand to deal with these issues, Pence said.
Congressman Carson said he feels “reassured” that the military is dealing with anything that comes up swiftly.
“There are fewer and fewer outbreaks of different issues as well as COVID, so they really have a grip on the situation,” Carson said.
For the past month, several health care providers have offered medical care to evacuees.
Columbus Regional Health spokesperson Kelsey DeClue said most of the services her team provides include emergency treatment and maternity care.
“So far we have been able to handle everything that happened to us from Camp Atterbury and help coordinate follow-up care,” she said.
Columbus Regional Health is ready to continue providing care for as long as needed, added DeClue.
Meanwhile, authorities continue to screen evacuees to determine if they can stay in the United States.
“Much of Hoosier hospitality truly helps those in need, and the Afghans arriving in our state need our help, kindness and compassion more than ever,” said Representative Carson.
“They are doing a good job, and I am very confident that when all is said and done, it will be the right people who will stay in this country,” said Representative Pence.
About 40% of the Afghan population living at Camp Atterbury includes children under the age of 14.
As for the future, several organizations are working to help find permanent homes for the evacuees, Pence said. Officials predict that many Afghans will move out of the Indianapolis area, he added, but the region has the capacity to accommodate some of them.
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