Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville has thanked the community and volunteers for ‘stepping up’.
Photograph: Hackney Council

Hackney council has pledged to rehome five refugee families from Afghanistan.

The council is one of 27 London boroughs who have committed to helping the effort, with the UK aiming to house between 125 and 152 families.

This comes after Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul was taken over by the Taliban, causing thousands to flee the country.

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville said: “The situation in Afghanistan is absolutely devastating and the council is doing everything in its power to support the national effort to provide refuge and help to the Afghans fleeing the horror unfolding in their country. 

“I want to thank the community and voluntary organisations who have already stepped up or pledged support to the refugees placed locally. You have once again lived up to Hackney’s reputation as a borough that welcomes migrants and refugees.

“I know many of us feel powerless but there are some practical ways to help. The immediate needs of refugees living in local hotels are currently being met by the government, the council and local community groups. 

“However, this is a fast-evolving situation and there will be a need for further support, such as food banks, advice services, befriending, as well as social activities and community connections. We’re asking the Hackney community to tell us how they can help.”

The council has published a list of immediate priorities on its website in order to aid as many Afghan refugees as possible.

These include providing accommodation as well as storage facilities for clothing and food distribution.

Also on the website is a list of Hackney-specific organisations providing aid to the incoming refugees.

Those who are able to help are urged to contact the council at policyprojects@hackney.gov.uk.

Images from Afghanistan have shown desperate civilians clinging to the wings of airplanes leaving from Kabul airport.

The takeover of the capital city came as the US-led military coalition occupying Afghanistan was in the process of withdrawing. This process is now complete.

Western countries are joining in efforts to accommodate people escaping the country, but a vast amount of funding is needed to make this viable.

Cllr Carole Williams, Hackney’s cabinet member for employment, skills and human resources, said: “We are welcoming Afghan families and giving them the help they need, including in areas such as housing, education and adult skills, and health care, to ensure they can rebuild their lives successfully in the borough. 

“But we are reiterating our calls to the government to make appropriate levels of funding available to local authorities to allow us to do this properly.”