LONDON: The British armed forces have been called on to support efforts to collect data on thousands of Afghan refugees living in hotels while the Home Office has reportedly lost control of the numbers.
Hundreds of soldiers are expected to visit more than 80 hotels that have been used as “transitional accommodation” for some 7,000 Afghans who were evacuated from Kabul in August.
Concerns have been expressed over the lack of support while refugees are kept in hotels, with reports of insufficient supplies of essential items and a lack of accurate information on many Afghans.
Soldiers should help collect data on the most effective ways to resettle refugees in more permanent accommodation.
The data the Home Office is required to collect includes their level of English, specific requirements for their well-being and the search for local connections they may have in Britain.
This information was due to be completed by the end of the week so that the Home Office could begin the final process of relocating the refugees, but the department refused to rule out that some Afghans could stay in a hotel here. Xmas.
More than 8,000 Afghans were evacuated to the UK in August as part of the policy of resettlement and assistance to Afghans.
A source involved in the care of Afghans transferred to the UK told The Times that the data collection is being undertaken with the support of the military because the Home Office has “lost control” of the situation. due to the chaos of the recovery.
The Refugee Council released a report last month outlining how many Afghans in bridging accommodation lacked essentials such as hygiene products, toothpaste, diapers and medicine.
The report found that the refugees lacked information about their future and had a limited understanding of the process they were going through.
A family trapped in a hotel in Lancashire, in the north of England, said since August that they had not received a reference number, denying them the possibility of contacting the Home Office and making share their concerns.
It also meant that they were unable to obtain information about their case or the prospects for a permanent home in the future.
Parents reported feeling “abandoned” and “lost and very anxious” while their children had “nothing to do”.
The government said the military data collection operation is being conducted on behalf of the Home Office to bolster efforts to integrate Afghan refugees into communities across Britain. He added that the data will be shared with “competent authorities”.
Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said: “The mental health and well-being of families is extremely precarious, and it is essential that everyone receives the support, guidance and information they need to ensure that warm promise by the government becomes a reality rather than an aspiration.
“The best place for all families is in homes, rooted in communities, and more guidance needs to come forward to provide that. “
Home Office dismissed accusation it lost control of the situation and the number of Afghans in hotels, insisting the military was being asked to gather more specific information .
A spokesperson said: “The largest and fastest emergency evacuation in recent history has brought around 15,000 people to safety in the UK. A significant intergovernmental effort is underway to ensure that the thousands of Afghans who have been evacuated to the UK receive the support they need to rebuild their lives, find work, continue their education and integrate into their communities. local.
“It is totally incorrect to suggest that we don’t know how many people are in hotels. Military personnel help the Home Office gather information that will help the government to best match individuals and families in fixed accommodation and support their integration into the UK. “