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Region to welcome 20 Afghan families

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Front
Region to welcome 20 Afghan families

SIXTEEN Afghan refugee families are set to join four others currently being resettled in Dumfries and Galloway.

The council and other local authorities across the country had previously agreed to provide safety and shelter for Afghans fleeing the Taliban.

However, with up to 20,000 Afghan refugees potentially seeking asylum in the UK, it was unclear how many would be dispersed around the country.

Dumfries and Galloway’s community planning partnership resettlement board has agreed to welcome 16 families after doing specific calculations based on population size.

This takes the total to 20 as arrangements are already in place for four families to be resettled here by the end of this month under a separate scheme rescuing staff previously employed by the UK government in Afghanistan.

A report explaining the numbers decision was produced at the council’s communities committee last week by Kirsty Peden, the council’s community engagement manager.

She wrote: “At its meeting on September 24, the project board considered the new Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme and in particular, the number of families that could be accommodated in our region.

“Using the same population-based formula as was applied for the Syrian Refugee Scheme – Dumfries and Galloway having three percent of the Scottish population and Scotland taking 10 percent of the proposed total number of arrivals – and based on the current estimate of Afghan Citizens arrivals, it is anticipated that this will result in a total of 20 families from across the two schemes.

“It is important to note however that the final number of people in the Afghan Citizens Relocation Scheme may change and so this number may vary slightly.

“The project board agreed that around 20 families in total from both schemes could be resettled across our region.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council leader Elaine Murray is fully supportive of the refugee relocation scheme – provided funding is made available from the UK Government.

She said: “Dumfries and Galloway has offered a new home to 20 families from Syria since 2016 and now has 36 adults and 41 children living in our region as part of the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Project.”

All funding for the Afghan resettlement programme is being covered by the Home Office and includes health, education and integration support costs.

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