Salvation Army Ramsgate has set up a fundraiser so it and other churches and community organisations can help Afghan people who are being settled in Thanet.
Yesterday (September 2) Thanet took in the first of those needing help after fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last month, two weeks before the US was due to complete its troop withdrawal after two decades. Kabul was captured on August 15.
Taliban forces took all major cities in just days, retaking the control that the militants had previously held in the 1990s.
Afghan nationals have been fleeing the country with many fearing revenge attacks on those who worked with Western forces. Others have been leaving with fears of the return of Islamic laws with harsh rules for women, including full burqa’s and only leaving home when accompanied by a male, and barbaric punishments such as stoning and cutting off the hands of those found guilty of theft.
Thanet council has asked private landlords and agents to help and says it is keen to work with the Government and Kent County Council to support the resettlement of Afghan families in suitable accommodation and will offer settlement for some families in Thanet.
Officers are liaising with the county council and council leader Ash Ashbee has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government for clarification on the position for funding.
The first Afghan people to arrive have been accommodated in a hotel for the time being.
The work, and fundraising, is being led by Carl Whitewood of the Salvation Army with support from Social Enterprise Kent, including Community Development Manager Jack Packman, county councillors Karen Constantine and Barry Lewis, district councillor Helen Whitehead, Sharon Goodyer from Our Kitchen and Thanet churches. Mosques have also been contacted.
The fundraising page will help to buy items to support the families, such as clothing and toys for youngsters.
Jack said: “This is now being coordinated by the Community Development Team as they are best placed to bring people together from organisations and individuals.
“Once we know how many families need supporting, we will put together a shopping list of items needed so we can manage the amount of donations and type of donations we get.”
The funding will be managed by Ramsgate Salvation Army.