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North Dakota prepares to welcome Ukrainian refugees, but the numbers and timing remain unknown

Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 7:25 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - President Joe Biden has announced the United States will welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.

Officials said North Dakota is ready and willing to help refugees resettle in the state.

“North Dakota will play a role in the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees,” said Holly Triska-Dally, State Refugee Coordinator. “To what extent has not been determined.”

Triska-Dally said there are still many unanswered like how many refugees North Dakota will take in and when will they arrive?

However, planning at the state level is underway.

“North Dakota has a history of Ukrainian immigration here. My family actually immigrated from Ukraine many years ago, and there’s a large Ukrainian community in the Western part of the state, several Ukrainian-speaking churches, there’s ethnic stores. There I actually a Ukrainian cultural center in the Dickinson area. So there’s a lot of enthusiasm and support within North Dakota to resettle Ukrainians,” said Triska-Dally.

Bill Patrie, a volunteer and advocate, said he is talking with state officials to resettle refugees in more rural areas - instead of urban areas, where historically resettlement has occurred.

“Think about rural places in North Dakota, like Bottineau,” said Patrie. “It has junior college and has a hospital. It needs workers. It has a ministerial association and active churches, you know it has all the things that will be a lovely place to live.”

Triska-Dally said talks are underway but there is still a long way to go until details are ironed out.

According to the federal government, the first refugees would not be arriving to the state for at least a few weeks.

According to the UN, more than three million refugees have fled Ukraine, mostly to bordering countries in Europe.

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