Published: Thursday, 9th September 2021

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has criticised the UK government for their lack of leadership and support for Afghan refugees, as hundreds face uncertainty as their quarantine period comes to an end.

There are currently nearly 700 refugees being held in quarantine conditions in Greenwich (and many more across London), with no idea where they will go next.   

Although a few bridging hotels have been identified, there are not nearly enough to house everyone in need. With hundreds of people due to leave quarantine, the council is extremely concerned for their welfare – after receiving next to no information about the next steps.     

Council staff and volunteers have stepped up to keep the situation locally under control, but clearly there needs to be direction from the government to ensure we keep people safe.  

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Good Growth said: “Make no mistake, this is a national scandal. The lack of leadership we have seen is reprehensible. This has been a chaotic week and we are no closer to knowing where we go from here. The government has had a fortnight to come up with a plan and, sadly, they have not.   

 “Having been through hell, the government continues to fail Afghan refugees. These are people who have experienced unimaginable trauma, sleepless nights, and fear for their family members back home.  

“They now have the additional worry of not knowing where they will be sent next. The lack of basic leadership from the government is putting people’s lives at risk.”     

In response, the council has been working tirelessly to identify temporary accommodation. 

Cllr Scott-McDonald added: “It’s incredibly difficult to understand why they are not doing more to help people: they urgently need step up and take responsibility, and give us the help we need to get this situation under control.”  

There are many charities working to help the thousands of people displaced from Afghanistan, that you can support including: