By Ben Heppenstall
Sheffield politicians have pledged to offer support to refugees fleeing Afghanistan as the crisis sparked by the country’s return to Taliban control deepens.
The city council’s co-operative executive members Alison Teal and Paul Wood, who are responsible for Sheffield’s response to the crisis, stated:
“Sheffield is a City of Sanctuary and we are supporting the Home Office’s Relocation Scheme for those who have supported UK troops in Afghanistan and now find their lives at risk.
“We do not know what will come next, and are awaiting more detail about the national pressure, but in Sheffield we will provide as much support as we can and we are reviewing the situation on a daily basis.”
Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield Hallam, offered messages of support on Twitter.
“The heart-breaking scenes in Kabul must be a reminder to us all: people fleeing violence & suffering should always be welcome here.”
She also offered help to families in Hallam who have relatives trying to leave Afghanistan, saying “my team and I will do everything we can to help.”
Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, wants the plan to resettle Afghan refugees to match the programme that was put in place for Syrian refugees in 2015.
She added: “I want a detailed plan on restoring aid and we’ll be working with our International Partners, particularly those in the region to allow aid in.”
Haigh ended her statement by offering support to those with family members in Afghanistan and to “ensure they have what they need to get their families and friends out of this terrifying situation.”
Petitions have been created calling for the UK government to resettle around 20,000 Afghan refugees. As of August 18 these petitions had amassed over 113,000 signatures.