THE voluntary sector has been ‘absolutely vital’ in mobilising support for large numbers of ‘traumatised’ refugees arriving from Afghanistan, health leaders in Hertfordshire and west Essex have been told.

More than 1,000 refugees have arrived in the Hertfordshire and west Essex area from Afghanistan.

They are among many thousands of people who left their homes, in advance of the withdrawal of the military forces from the US, the UK and others.

And according to a report – presented to the partnership board of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System on Tuesday (Sept 14) – they are now in four managed quarantine hotels in the Hertfordshire and west Essex area.

“Following the withdrawal of military support and the ensuing changes during August, significant numbers of refugees have arrived locally,” says the report by ICS chief exec Dr Jane Halpin.

“This is an uncertain and rapidly evolving set of circumstances. However, at the time of drafting this report, there were known to be over 1,000 people in four managed quarantine site hotels in the local area.”

According to the report, refugees have been supported by the Local Resilience Forums and the Red Cross.

They have been given access to interpreters, health advice – including screening and immunisation – and essential supplies.

And – says a report to health chiefs in the region – the voluntary sector has been ‘absolutely vital’.

“The role of the voluntary sector has once again been absolutely vital in mobilising support for large numbers of traumatised people,” says the report.

Once the 10-day period of quarantine is complete, the report says they will be moved on to ‘resettlement hotels’, until longer-term housing can be found.

There are – says the report – expected to be four resettlement hotels within the Hertfordshire and west Essex area.