VANCOUVER — Over 200 Afghan refugees have arrived in Vancouver, the most to reach the province since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last August.

Sean Fraser, Canada’s minister responsible for refugees, says the latest arrivals are among a total of 7,000 refugees that have now been airlifted to various parts of Canada.

He says 161 of the new arrivals will stay in Vancouver while the other 48 will settle elsewhere in the country, where they have family ties.

A statement from the minister says a charter plane from Pakistan on Tuesday mainly carried people whose work in Afghanistan involved a “significant or enduring relationship with the government of Canada, as well as their families.”

The British Columbia government announced a $2-million fund in November to boost local services and supports for families resettling in the province due to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne says in a statement issued Wednesday that the fund will ensure communities across B.C. are ready to welcome and respond to the needs of Afghan refugees.

“Our government’s priority is ensuring every newcomer who arrives in B.C. has access to the services and supports they need to give them the best chance for success and prosperity,” Osborne says in the statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2022.

The Canadian Press