Afghans caught in a life of limbo crammed inside hotel rooms as they await UK government help

A life of limbo is one being experienced by 7,000 Afghans, ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports

There isn’t a day goes by that Farid Rahmani doesn't think of all he has left behind.

His old life as an interpreter at the British embassy seems like a distant dream - a dream which was shattered in the summer when gunmen tried to assassinate him - forcing him to flee Afghanistan.

He, his wife and six children narrowly avoided being caught up in the bomb attack which left 13 US soldiers dead as they fought their way through thousands to get on one of the last planes out of Kabul.

"Half of my head still was in Afghanistan, it's really difficult to leave your country"

He remembers little of the discomfort of the flight to the UK via the Gulf, because he was just so relieved to be safe.

For the past five weeks, he’s trying to get used to life in small hotel in Watford - his wife and six children crammed into three rooms with no sense of when they will be rehoused.

The new life of limbo is being experienced by 7,000 brought here under the Afghan relocation and assistance policy who are currently housed in 80 hotels across the country.

Farid at work at the British Embassy.

Farid has heard nothing at all from the Home Office and doesn’t know when their children will be enrolled in a school or where in the country they will live.

Zia Maliky and family had an even more difficult start to life in the UK.

They were confined to their room for 21 days on arrival in London because the hotel appeared seemed unaware it should only last 10 days.

Farid's family are crammed in a small hotel room.

Making matters even worse their baby had severe diarrhoea and they weren’t provided with the correct size nappies.

Six weeks after arriving here, they have no idea when they will be rehoused or when their children can start school.

Each of these families is unable to work and is waiting to claim Universal Credit which may take six weeks to come through.

They survive on food provided by the hotel, but have no cash for anything else.

Zia Maliky and his family were confined to their hotel room for 21 days when they arrived in the UK.

Charities are doing their best to help with clothing and other basics but many are shocked by the lack of support offered to men who served alongside our troops.

Joanne MacInnes helped set up West London Welcome in Hammersmith which does offer some help to new arrivals.

She has been helping asylum seekers for years but is shocked by the lack of information and assistance for Afghan families evacuated from Kabul.

"We are shocked and concerned that thousands of Afghan refugees have been living in hotels without any money, proper documentation, or prospects of long-term housing since they first arrived in the UK in August," Joanne told ITV News.

"The Afghan families and individuals we know at West London Welcome have no emergency cash, no access to benefits, no documents to start working with, and have been given little to no information about their immigration statuses or how long they will be living in hotels.

"Given the chaos of the Home Office's housing system, it is likely these refugees will remain living in hotels for months.

"The government must instead urgently organise with private landlords to house Afghans within communities, and ensure they have the money and proper documentation they need to start recovering from trauma and build a new life in safety."

Joanne MacInnes says as the weeks go by, she's shocked at the lack of provision and information from the government for Afghan refugees

The Home Office has confirmed the army will now be deployed to support the families left in hotels.

A spokesperson said: “The biggest and fastest emergency evacuation in recent history brought around 15,000 people to safety in the UK.

"A significant cross-government effort is underway to ensure the thousands of Afghans who were evacuated to the UK receive the support they need to rebuild their lives, find work, pursue education, and integrate into their local communities. “Military personnel are supporting the Home Office to gather information that will help the government best match individuals and families into settled housing and support their integration into the UK.”

It will be welcome news to Farid and the thousands of others left in unsuitable hotels for weeks - hoping they can soon start their new life here and put behind them the shock and disruption of fleeing their homeland.