CDC Foundation Activates Emergency Response Fund to Meet Urgent Public Health Needs of Afghan Evacuees to the U.S.

Dramatic evacuations of individuals and families leaving Afghanistan present opportunity to meet health needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

As the United States has withdrawn from Afghanistan and evacuees have left the country, the CDC Foundation is activating its Emergency Response Fund to meet the immediate public health needs of those individuals and families coming to America. Among the most pressing needs is connecting Afghanistan evacuees with public health networks to facilitate communication about COVID-19 testing and follow-up vaccinations and serve as a connection point for other essential health and resettlement services as these evacuees begin their lives in the United States.

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined the U.S. government’s evacuation of U.S. and Afghan nationals from Afghanistan, supporting the broader U.S. government response. CDC requested the CDC Foundation activate its Emergency Response Fund to accelerate the public health components of the mission, including testing, vaccination, and COVID-19 prevention and mitigation.

“CDC is proud to join in this humanitarian mission and ensure evacuees can safely enter the United States,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “Our priority is to keep evacuees safe and healthy and appreciate the CDC Foundation’s activation of its emergency response fund to assist us with this priority.”

Cell phones will be provided to evacuees and will serve as a reliable, direct and critical connection between individuals, families and public health authorities who can then provide evacuees with essential health and resettlement resources, information on recommended follow-up for vaccinations and access to COVID-19 testing. The phones can also be used to share vital public health alerts and messaging.

“We’ve all seen photos and videos of evacuees leaving Afghanistan and the terrible strain that they have gone through—most distressingly fear for their very lives,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “As you might imagine, they have many essential needs, most notably health-related needs. Today, we are working to rapidly raise support for this effort. We all can play a role in helping these individuals and families by providing critical support to ensure their health. While government support will be required, we know that the support of individuals, philanthropies and corporations is crucial alongside the use of government funding to meet immediate needs—most critically public health needs.”

Contributions to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law and can be made on the CDC Foundation’s website (to donate) or by phone or mail. To discuss giving opportunities or an in-kind donation, contact Advancement at the CDC Foundation by email at or 404.653.0790, toll-free at 888-886-4CDC.

To manage resources, the CDC Foundation will work with all levels of government and on-the-ground partners, like refugee aid organizations, state and local health departments and community-based organizations to coordinate support for resettlement and the longer-term well-being of Afghan refugees.