Around 50 Afghan families in temporary accommodation in Hampshire County Council area

AROUND 50 Afghan families fleeing the Taliban have been relocated to Hampshire - and more are on the way.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 11:02 am

Hampshire County Council has come to the aid of the refugee families as part of the government's Afghan resettlement scheme.

The council had initially agreed to take up to 22 families - consisting of guides and translators who have supported UK troops for the past two decades - but reviewed its position when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the county council said: 'The county council and local partners, including district and borough councils, NHS, support providers and local charities, are committed to continuing support for Afghan families arriving in Hampshire as part of the government’s resettlement scheme.

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Undated handout photo issued by Matt Simmons of donations for refugees for his organisation Ems4Afghans. Mr Simmons at the helm of the community effort to provide shoeboxes and care packs to refugees has been "brought to tears" by support for the campaign. Picture:: Matt Simmons/PA Wire

'At present some 50 families are being collectively supported in temporary accommodation pending national decisions being taken on their long term future and relocation.

'We would anticipate that some may remain in Hampshire, while others will move to locations beyond our county – and in half a dozen cases, the latter has already occurred.

'Over the next few days, we are preparing to welcome more evacuees but the numbers are unknown at present.'

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Meanwhile in Portsmouth, a further seven families have taken up residency in the city, with two more en route.

City council leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said old Ministry of Defence accommodation is being used to house these families, so that housing waiting lists are not affected.

Across Hampshire, people have been donating clothes, toiletries and even old mobile phones to give the Afghan families a fresh start in the UK.

The county council spokesman added: 'The public response from the people of Hampshire to the plight of the evacuees has been extraordinary.

'Registered Hampshire charity Community First, which is co-ordinating donations across the county, working alongside more than 30 local community organisations, has welcomed a huge number of donations and offers of support.

'Work is now ongoing to collect and distribute much-needed items to Afghan families who have expressed their gratitude for the public’s support.'

Anyone who wants to donate unwanted items to Afghan families can go to the Community First website, where there is a list of urgently-needed items.

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