County council 'overwhelmed' with offers of support for Afghan refugees

IMAGE BLURRED AT SOURCE Ministry of Defence handout photo of passengers disembarking a Royal Air For

Passengers disembarking a Royal Air Force Voyager after arriving at RAF Brize Norton from the Middle East - Credit: PA

A number of individuals and families fleeing Afghanistan have arrived in Hertfordshire, and are being housed in hotels in the county while awaiting permanent housing across the UK.

The county council - which is currently working closely with the Red Cross and other partners to ensure support is available to families arriving in Herts - has said it's been overwhelmed with offers of support by the community.

County councillor Richard Roberts

County councillor Richard Roberts - Credit: Herts County Council

The emerging and tragic situation in Afghanistan has resulted in the British government offering formal routes for certain individuals to access the United Kingdom for their own safety.

The British Red Cross is providing initial ‘crisis’ support with the help of the local voluntary sector.

Hertfordshire County Council is working to co-ordinate the efforts to meet the longer term needs of those arriving in the county.

This has involved establishing a formal process for the receipt of donations and support, planning the direct provision of education, supporting the local NHS to arrange immediate healthcare provision, and working alongside district and borough councils who are reviewing available housing and supporting the hotels in their areas. 

Leader of HCC Richard Roberts said: “The people of Hertfordshire already have shown incredible generosity in response to the unfolding situation in Afghanistan, and we have been overwhelmed with offers to support those arriving in the county.

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“Currently the operation is being led by the British Red Cross, who are working closely with those families have already arrived to meet their needs, as well as preparing to welcome others in the coming days and weeks.

“A significant number of clothes, toiletries and toys have very generously been donated, and we are working alongside the Red Cross to manage what has already been received.

"We are now asking that no further donations are made at this time as we work to understand the need of those who have already arrived.

“As a county council we are also working closely with our local partners to ensure that the appropriate support is available to those who need it, including provision for medical and social care, access to education, and additional support where needed.

“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who has so enthusiastically offered support to ensure the families feel welcome and settle well in this next chapter of their lives.”

Details of how donations and offers of support can be facilitated will be shared in due course, but in the meantime donations to the British Red Cross can be made via their website.

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