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Selasa, 24 Agustus 2021

Afghan families escaping Taliban rule land in Adelaide on Royal Australian Air Force flight - ABC News

A rescue flight carrying just under 100 people from Afghanistan landed in Adelaide in the early hours of this morning.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) plane flew into Adelaide Airport about 4:00am ACST.

It flew from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the Afghans had escaped to, and stopped briefly in Perth to drop off 48 people, before flying on to South Australia.

In Adelaide, 89 people disembarked.

Some of the Afghans aboard helped Australian Defence Force and embassy staff in Kabul and have been granted emergency protection visas.

"Some are Australian passport holders and Australian citizens, some are people who have permanent residency status ... but some are indeed Afghani (sic) citizens who we have processed rapidly with emergency visas for those who have worked alongside our defence forces, our embassy in Afghanistan," Senator Simon Birmingham said.

ABC Radio Adelaide's Spence Denny said he saw "young families, women and children" being transferred on buses.

The arrivals will now do 14 days of hotel quarantine, as per Australia's COVID-19 rules for international travellers, at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in the CBD.

They will be prioritised within Australia's existing annual refugee intake, and will be granted humanitarian visas, not permanent residency.

An Afghan child evacuee on a bus in Adelaide.
An Afghan child evacuee on a bus in Adelaide, after fleeing her homeland.(

ABC News: Brant Cumming

)

Afghan Cultural Association of South Australia's Behishta Anwar said she finally felt "there was a bit of happiness, a bit of a light" this morning.

"I know exactly how they feel, because I was in their situation not long ago," she said.

"I'm sure they're looking forward to a good, safe future where they won't be hurt.

Ms Anwar said she and others in the local Afghan community — including one who was a former ADF interpreter — would be providing support to the new arrivals.

She said once they had completed hotel quarantine, some of them would travel to be near family members who lived throughout Australia.

An Afghan boy sleeps on a woman's shoulder.
An Afghan boy sleeps on a woman's shoulder after arriving in Adelaide on Wednesday.(

ABC News: Brant Cumming

)

Ms Anwar also encouraged anyone who wanted to help to get in touch with the association, which is coordinating how best to assist the new arrivals.

"We are working on that to see how we can support in South Australia," she said.

"We have a meeting today to see what we can do about it."

Ms Anwar, who came to Australia herself as a refugee, also had happy personal news overnight — her brother and his family safely made it into Kabul 's airport.

"My brother, who is an Australian citizen, with his wife, who is pregnant, and their one-year-old son … they were finally able to get inside the airport, where it's safe around the guards," she said.

"Because they're firing bullets and chucking tear gas, with a one-year-old and a pregnant lady, it was really dangerous, so it took them two-and-a-half days to get there."

SA Health 'will provide support'

South Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the new arrivals would be offered support.

"I think there would probably be a huge sense of relief amongst them that they've managed to find their way to Australia," he said.

"SA Health do have a fairly intensive program of keeping in touch with and monitoring the wellbeing of people who are in medi-hotels.

A plane moves along the tarmac in the dark
A plane carrying the arrivals landed in the early hours of Wednesday morning.(

ABC News

)

He said the "limited number of medi-hotel rooms at our disposal" also meant accommodating the "urgent situation" would slow down things for other people trying to fly into SA.

"Those international arrivals hoping to come into Adelaide, they may find them slowed down a little because of this," he said.

Premier wants more humanitarian visas offered

However, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall did not expect the Afghan arrivals to impact the state's medi-hotel capacity.

An Afghan boy sleeps on his mother's shoulder.
Two of the new arrivals enter a medi-hotel in Adelaide.(

ABC News: Brant Cumming

)

"If you go back six months ago we had capacity for 600 per week, we took that down to 530, its now 265, so this 89 will be above 265 but it's still well under the capacity we have contracted," he said.

More than 2,450 people have been evacuated from Kabul airport by Australia since the capital, Kabul, fell to the Taliban.

The Federal Government has committed to resettling 3,000 Afghans fleeing Taliban rule.

Mr Marshall said he would like to see an increase in Australia's intake of Afghans on humanitarian visas.

"I am pleased that we are increasing the number of humanitarian visas that we're providing Afghanistan, he said.

The back of an Afghan mother and her young children, walking into a hotel, past people in PPE
A woman and child enter the medi-hotel in Adelaide.(

ABC News: Brant Cumming

)

Senator Birmingham said states have agreed to increase their international arrivals caps to accommodate the emergency.

"To date, there have been no positive COVID cases."

The rescue flight arrived just after that US President Joe Biden confirmed America's 20-year presence in Afghanistan would come to an end in a week.

Mr Biden said more than 70,000 people had been evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14.

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https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMibmh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvbmV3cy8yMDIxLTA4LTI1L2FpcmZvcmNlLXBsYW5lLWxhbmRzLWluLWFkZWxhaWRlLWFmdGVyLWFmZ2hhbmlzdGFuLWV2YWN1YXRpb24vMTAwNDA0ODU20gEoaHR0cHM6Ly9hbXAuYWJjLm5ldC5hdS9hcnRpY2xlLzEwMDQwNDg1Ng?oc=5

2021-08-25 00:11:33Z
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