Edinburgh set to welcome Afghans fleeing turmoil in their homeland
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The city council said the Capital would offer a number of places for permanent resettlement, as well as responding to the Home Office’s urgent request to accommodate a cohort of people on a temporary basis, as the security situation in Afghanistan deteriorates.
Due to the speed with which plans are being developed, details, including how many refugees will come to Edinburgh and where they will be housed, are still to be confirmed.
The council said work was continuing with the Home Office and services such as education and health to coordinate arrival and support planning.
Council leader Adam McVey said: “Nobody can fail to be shocked and appalled to witness the desperate situation unfolding in Afghanistan. As a city we stand ready to help in whatever way we can.
“We’re in contact with both the UK and Scottish Governments to develop plans for how best we and our partners can offer support and housing to as many Afghans in need as possible. Edinburgh stands ready to welcome people to ensure they are immediately safe as well as welcoming new citizens to live in our city.
“We hope to be a position to confirm the level of Edinburgh’s involvement very soon. Meanwhile we continue to work rapidly with partners in the city to ensure that support is in place for people fleeing for their lives.”
Depute leader Cammy Day said the city had a long and proud history of welcoming people escaping desperate circumstances.
"Our highly skilled team has an excellent track record over the last five years, successfully welcoming, supporting and settling more than 500 new residents displaced by the Syrian civil war into our city.
“I’m sure our communities will join us in doing everything they can to support those fleeing the horrendous situation we are all seeing in Afghanistan.”
A briefing to councillors said negotiations were taking place urgently on leasing surplus Ministry of Defence property in the Capital to used for housing Afghans previously employed by the British Services in Afghanistan who were coming here for permanent resettlement.
And it said that due to the pressure of numbers now being resettled, the Home Office was seeking to procure hotel accommodation in Edinburgh.