Afghans who fled to the UK to escape the Taliban are so sick of staying in hotels that they are begging to be allowed back home
- Hundreds of Afghans arrived in the UK under Operation ‘Warm Welcome’
- But lack of housing means many are living in emergency hotel accommodation
- A doctor reported his refugee patient pleading for ‘freedom from the hotel’
Afghan families who fled to Britain during the Taliban takeover of their country have asked to be sent back home.
Hundreds of refugees arrived in the UK as part of Operation Warm Welcome, the government’s resettlement programme, as British and American troops completed their withdrawal.
But a lack of housing on offer with councils meant that many families had to be moved into hotels as emergency temporary accommodation.
While £400million in funding had been put forward for resettlement by September, Home Office officials admitted that some Afghans would have to be held in hotels for months.
Afghan families who fled to Britain during the Taliban takeover of their country have asked to be sent back home. Pictured: Border Force staff assist a female evacuee as Afghan refugees arrive from Kabul at Heathrow Airport
Now though, almost two months on from the capture of Kabul, the refugees have said they are sick of waiting for a permanent home.
One doctor, who has been working with the new arrivals told The Guardian: ‘I’ve had a few patients telling me they want to go home.’
He told the paper a 67-year-old patient had said: ‘I can’t take this any more. I have to get out of this [hotel] room.’
‘Another said: “I just want my freedom from the hotel”.’
The doctor said that the man and wife were ‘so upset’ by the ordeal, that he had to put them both on medication.
The UK has evacuated more than 15,000 people from Afghanistan since August 13, including 8,000 Afghans who had worked with UK armed forces.
Hundreds of refugees arrived in the UK as part of Operation Warm Welcome, the government’s resettlement programme, as British and American troops completed their withdrawal
Operation Warm Welcome is being overseen by Victoria Atkins, who has been appointed Afghan Resettlement minister.
In late August, Home Secretary Priti Patel visited Heathrow Airport where she met with refugees who were arriving on evacuation flights.
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘The UK’s biggest and fastest emergency evacuation in recent history helped over 15,000 people to safety, and hotels remain a temporary measure to help accommodate those we brought here.
‘It is going to take time to find permanent homes for everyone but we are working urgently with our partners to do so.
‘Our aim is to support everyone who is resettled here to build a successful life in the UK, and that is why we work around the clock to provide wrap-around support to families.
‘This includes working closely with local authorities across the UK to ensure everyone temporarily accommodated in hotels has access to essential provisions, healthcare, education and universal credit.’