Afghan refugees who helped UK armed forces to stay in Exmouth hotel temporarily
By Will Goddard
21st Sep 2021 | Local News
A number of Afghan families are set to be temporarily housed in an Exmouth hotel as part of the government's refugee resettlement programme.
The refugees, who worked with UK armed forces in Afghanistan, have reportedly been staying in quarantine hotels since flying in from Kabul, and will stay in the temporary 'bridging' accommodation in Exmouth until permanent residences can be found - which could be anywhere in the country.
In Devon, private landlords have been urged to house Afghan refugees. This is so that there is no impact on district councils' local housing waiting lists.
Devon County Council has said that it is 'now working with local community groups and volunteers to ensure that, once refugees are found suitable accommodation in the county, support around them is available quickly to help them settle in, access local health services and education, and find employment if possible.'
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member with responsibility for communities, said: "All local authorities have been asked to help support with Afghan refugees who worked with and for our UK forces in Afghanistan and who were forced to leave their country as a result of the collapse of the country following withdrawal of US and UK forces.
"We have received notification from the Home Office that a group of these refugees will be placed temporarily in Exmouth as part of the Government's national Afghan resettlement programme, pending their onward journey to long term accommodation, which could be anywhere in the country.
"We are working closely with our District and Town Council partners, NHS Devon, and local community and voluntary groups to make sure we are ready to welcome them."
Councillor Steve Gazzard, Chairman of Exmouth Town Council, said: "Exmouth is a town with strong military connections and many of the refugees will have been working for our military services.
"Exmouth Town Council will do all it can to provide a safe environment for them to start the process of coming to terms with what has happened to them."
Councillor Paul Arnott, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: "We will be offering as much support as we can to help the families who have lost their homes in such tragic circumstances. We would like to thank the Exmouth and wider East Devon communities, in advance, for their understanding, support and compassion for the men, women and children who have been offered sanctuary after living through some truly harrowing experiences."