Red Cross urges British public to donate cash for Afghan refugees

Red Cross urges British public to donate cash for Afghan refugees

08/25/2021

Red Cross urges British public to donate cash to buy Afghan refugees clothes and other essentials after they were forced to flee Kabul with few belongings

  • British Red Cross teams are supporting families from Afghanistan across the UK 
  • However they are now calling for more donations, with cash donations preferred 
  • Staff and volunteers are welcoming arrivals at airports and giving out basics

The Red Cross is calling for cash donations to support Afghan refugees arriving in the UK.   

British Red Cross teams are supporting hundreds of families, some said to be ‘incredibly traumatised’ and in need of emotional support.

The charity’s staff and volunteers are welcoming arrivals at airports and giving out basic items like warm clothing and hygiene kits. 

However they are now calling for more donations, with one manager saying cash is preferred – though they are also asking for clothing and other essentials. 

British Red Cross teams are supporting families in Heathrow, Leicester, Chelmsford, Colchester, Hertfordshire, Southampton, Hampshire, Milton Keyes, Sandback, Derby, Cheshire, Birmingham, Brize Norton, and Wrexham in Wales. 

The charity said it is ready to support in more areas of the UK as further arrivals are expected. 

A fully packed flight of evacuees being taken from Kabul to the UK taken earlier this week

Passengers evacuated from Afghanistan disembark from a British Royal Air Force (RAF) Airbus KC2 Voyager aircraft, after landing at RAF Brize Norton station

Hundreds of items have been donated to the Bushey United Synagogue in Hertfordshire to help newly arrived Afghan families

Edmore Hute, refugee support manager at British Red Cross, said: ‘There’s hundreds of people who have arrived in the UK with their families fresh from a harrowing journey, leaving behind homes and loved ones in uncertainty.

‘First and foremost we are providing kindness and reassurance that they are in a safe place, in a place of safety.

‘This is vital, especially these first days, during the first hours and days.’

He added: ‘A lot of these people have gone through very difficult journeys and people have left behind their homes and families, and everything they have known, so they are incredibly traumatised and in need of emotional support.’

Mr Hute hailed the public for welcoming Afghans, saying: ‘Thanks to the British public for the avalanche of love and warmth and support that the Afghan evacuees have been reporting into us.’

He said the ‘warm welcome’ from the British public has been incredible and the charity has been ‘bowled over’ with offers of things like clothing and toys.

Mr Hute said a donation of money is preferred as it can be transferred instantly to areas that need it most.

How will the new resettlement scheme work and who will get priority? 

The resettlement programme is a new initiative to help Afghans forced to flee their country as refugees.   

It is separate from the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which grants haven to former interpreters and others who helped Western forces over the past 20 years.

The two schemes are explained below: 

Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy:

This is available to any current or former locally-employed staff who worked for the British forces who are assessed to be at a ‘serious risk’ of being killed. 

Successful applicants will be offered priority entry into the UK regardless of their employment status, rank or role, or length of time served. 

Local staff who work or worked in the public eye and who could be at risk as the security situation evolves will be relocated to the UK on a routine basis, and those not eligible to move will be offered other support such as security advice and relocation within Afghanistan. 

Some 10,000 former Afghan staff and their family members are expected to be relocated to the UK under ARAP. 

Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme: 

The government is aiming for the new Afghanistan citizens’ resettlement scheme to resettle 5,000 Afghan nationals who are at risk due to the current crisis in its first year, and a total of 20,000 in the long term. 

Priority will be given to women and girls, and religious and other minorities. There will be a particular focus on whether people are at risk of human rights abuses and dehumanising treatment by the Taliban. The UK can reject cases on ‘security, war crimes or other grounds’. 

The initiative will be modelled on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme which launched in 2014 in conjunction with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR identifies potential cases for the UK to consider and applicants are then vetted by British officials.

The government has insisted that the new route will not compromise on national security and any person arriving on the route will have to pass the same strict security checks as those resettled through other schemes.  

He said that due to having to leave Afghanistan so quickly they do not have many belongings with them, so there is a real need for clothes and other essential items.

‘We’re also realising increasingly that especially these days when they are watching the news a lot of them are really worried about their family that they have left behind.

‘There is a sense of relief that they are here but also still worried about the families that they have left behind,’ he said.  

Experts from the British Red Cross psychosocial support team have been deployed to support families arriving into airports in recognition of the traumas they may be coming from.

Teams are supporting families staying in hotels, until further housing is secured for them.

The charity said all families have been through the necessary Covid-19 measures, staying in quarantine hotels on first arrival, and have been tested before being moved into other hotels.

Donations have poured in to local organisations in recent days as reported figures suggest almost 2,000 Afghan refugees have arrived in the country following the fall of Kabul.

Charities in Birmingham and Scarborough have shared pictures of thousands of pieces of clothing, toys and toiletries that were provided by generous locals wanting to aid those fleeing persecution in Afghanistan.

The Bushey United Synagogue in Hertfordshire also received supplies for newly arrived Afghan families to the area after a Facebook request was met with ‘a tremendous act of love’ from the local community. 

Many of these organisations posted appeals online and were left stunned by the thousands of bags of items that quickly flooded in.

MailOnline understands that there are approximately 2,000 Afghan refugees already being housed in temporary emergency accommodation – mainly in hotels – across the UK.  

Manchester is currently home to approximately 1,000 displaced Afghans, while West and North Yorkshire, Hertfordshire and a handful of other counties are housing hundreds of refugees. 

The Home Office did not provide any specific information on the hotel procurement procedure or how refugees are divided across the country when asked by MailOnline. 

Hotels across Britain have flung open their doors for arriving Afghans as they flee the clutches of the Taliban in their homeland.

Rooms in Kent, West Yorkshire, Hertfordshire, Warwickshire and more have been prepared as refugees continue to fly into airports including Birmingham and RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Katie Wilson, who runs Carriers of Hope’s clothing scheme in Warwickshire, told the BBC the group was supporting more than 115 refugees living in hotels in Coventry. 

‘There are over 115 people living the hotel, most of them arrived without even a change of clothes, many of them were in flip flops or barefoot,’ she said.

‘They just absolutely need everything… and we just can’t keep on top of the demand.

‘It breaks your heart, I must have helped 100 men with clothes the other day, but the ones you remember are the ones crying by your car saying they have nothing and you feel like you have failed because you can’t help everyone.’

Meanwhile, the founder of a 15-year-old refugee centre in Walsall, West Midlands, explained how he has been ‘inundated’ with requests for help from those fleeing Kabul.

Afghans allowed to come to the UK will be distributed across the country. Pictured: British nationals and Afghan evacuees arrive on a flight from Afghanistan at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

A civilian charter flight arriving at a Midlands airport from Kabul. The flight carried eligible Afghans under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy Programme and British Nationals who were based in Afghanistan

The Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme will focus on women and girls who fear their rights will be trampled under the ‘Islamic Emirate’ declared by the Taliban

Fahim Zazai, of Walsall’s Afghan Community and Welfare Centre, told Birmingham Live he is lobbying the Government to confirm the status of Afghan refugees already in Britain as he receives hundreds of missed calls from worried relatives in Afghanistan.

‘Some are very anxious, desperate, they want to know what they need to do, they just want to leave,’ he explained.

It comes are more than 100 local authorities in England and Wales backed plans to rehome displaced Afghans in the wake of the Taliban recapturing Kabul earlier this month. 

Local authorities have been asked to support efforts to relocate approximately 3,000 displaced Afghans in the coming weeks.  

Downing Street has already received more than 2,000 accommodation promises from 104 councils, the Times reports. 

Reported figures suggest almost 2,000 Afghan refugees have already been placed into temporary isolation hotels or ’emergency accommodation’ across the country. 

Women, girls and those facing persecution will get priority as some 20,000 are granted the right to live in the UK – with 5,000 expected in the first year. 

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