Over recent weeks, I have been appalled at the Tory's unworkable, unethical plans to house asylum seekers on a barge in Dorset.
The Government failed to listen to well-founded concerns or even carry out basic checks of the water supply, which was contaminated with Legionella bacteria, putting both asylum-seekers and staff at-risk.
The Tories have serious questions to answer about the safety of this project and should stop wasting taxpayer's money pursuing headlines and instead fix this broken asylum system.
The story of a Ukrainian family who wants to come to live in Furzedown recently made national news! Oksana and her young son Dmytro have a sponsor ready and willing to welcome them into their home in the local area, however Home Office delays have stopped them travelling to safety in the United Kingdom.
It is inspiring and heartwarming to see the generosity shown by the British public in welcoming Ukrainian refugees into their lives, however Oksana and Dmytro have been let down badly by the Home Office. They applied to come to the UK in September last year and, so far, the Home Office have refused to provide a timeframe for a decision to both myself and their sponsor's solicitors. This is simply not good enough and the Government must get a grip.
Such an incredible honour to have volunteered with the Care4Calais team in Calais and Dunkirk. Their compassion and work ethic is second to none and they do so much to help and support those who have lost everything, in the most difficult of circumstances.
Care4Calais is a refugee crisis charity that helps with delivering essential aid and support, such as food and medical supplies, to refugees living in the UK, France, and Belgium.
So glad that I could be a part of this experience to help with the crisis in Calais.
Our Tooting community always comes together in the face of adversity, and I know many local residents will want to help those impacted by the current situation in Afghanistan in any way they can. That is why I have compiled a list of organisations and charities currently working to support Afghan refugees:
To provide refugee accommodation:
Refugees at Home: UK charity which connects those with a spare room with refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay. Apply to be a host here.
Room for Refugees: Community hosting network that offers safe, temporary homes and emotional support for insecurely-housed refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable groups - families, the sick, the elderly and unaccompanied asylum seeking children with no recourse to public funds. Apply to offer accommodation here.
Wandsworth Borough Council: Residents, businesses, or other landlords who could offer a property for new arrivals are being asked to register their details - they are particularly keen to hear from those with 3 to 4 bedroom properties available. To offer accommodation, contact Wandsworth Borough Council via email at email@example.com or by phone on 020 8871 7333.
Care4Calais: Asking for volunteers, financial donations and donations clothes, shoes, phones or other essentials at drop off points:
Choose Love: Supporting projects providing vital aid and services to Afghan people who have fled the country: clothes, shelter, support for children and groups protecting women and children’s rights.
British Red Cross: Calling for donations to help staff and volunteers provide emotional support and essential items, including warm clothes, blankets, soap, toothbrushes and nappies.
Save the Children: Calling for donations to an emergency fund.
Action Aid: Calling for emergency donations to help charity provide emergency humanitarian assistance including food, water, and essential items such as hygiene kits, cash, tarpaulins, tents, cooking utensils, clothing, and bedding.
Afghanaid: Afghanaid is a British humanitarian and development organisation, currently asking for donations to assist response to the Afghan crisis
UNICEF: Raising money to support children in Afghanistan
UNHCR: Calling for donations to help the organisation in the distribution of family tents, hygiene kits, core relief items like blankets, sleeping mats and kitchen sets.
The Big Give: Delivering emergency support to families whose lives have been destroyed or uprooted by the conflict.
Muslim Aid: Calling for donations to Afghanistan Emergency Appeal.
Islamic Relief: Calling for donations to aid Afghan’s on the ground in Afghanistan, and when they come to the UK.
Doctors Without Borders: The MSF teams are responding to the crisis in Afghanistan, providing medical aid, expertise and life-saving supplies during the escalating crisis.
Paiwand: Established an Afghan Resettlement Emergency Fund, supporting displaced Afghans in need of assistance.
Refugee Council: Providing aid, including mental health support, for refugees arriving in the UK.
The situation which has unfolded in Afghanistan is shocking and terribly regrettable. It is simply not good enough for world leaders to say the speed of the Taliban advance took them by surprise, when many have been warning of this for months. There has either been a monumental failing of our intelligence services or an unacceptable lack of transparency. Either way the Government has reacted too late.
In 2010, I worked (pictured) as a Humanitarian Aid Doctor in the North West Frontier Province, on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, following the flood crisis. I met many people who had suffered unimaginable pain at the hands of the Taliban.
I am continuing to receive a high volume of emails from local residents concerned about loved ones in Afghanistan. Myself and my team are working to respond as quickly as possible. If you are worried about someone, please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing their details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the following information so I can take action quickly:
We must not allow history to repeat itself. Careless leadership from the Prime Minister enabled this tragedy to happen on his watch, while he had taken his eye off the ball. The world must not turn its back on the Afghan people.
Following the recall of Parliament on Wednesday, I remain in close contact with my colleagues in the Shadow Foreign Team and will continue to be on hand to support local residents through this.
Today, I voted against the Nationality and Borders Bill, a piece of legislation that risks breaking international law and turns our backs on unaccompanied children fleeing war and persecution.
The Conservatives just voted to make it harder to give a safe haven to children fleeing violence and war. They should be ashamed.
The cruel irony of this Government’s approach is that it’s weak on taking action against criminal gangs and brutal when it comes to orphaned children from war zones.
As someone who has held the hands of frightened children and terrified parents working as a doctor in war torn areas such as the Rohingya and Palestine, I am appalled at the Government’s approach to protecting those in need of safety.