Describing it as a ‘humbling’ experience is how a young Doctor felt when caring for Afghan refugees who arrived on flights to the UK from ‘war torn’ Kabul. An A & E doctor in Brighton, Luke Tester said that taking care of families who had fled Afghanistan after the Taliban had seized control was like nothing he had experienced before.
The 27 year old doctor, who signed up to help with St John Ambulance said that: “Walking into the terminal and seeing hundreds and hundreds of people who had been through terrible turmoil was very emotional. Many have arrived dehydrated, malnourished and exhausted after many days waiting outside the airport at Karbul, where they had been exposed to the elements while trying to secure their passage to safety”.
However, it is the disabled and young who have been worst affected.”I treated a three-month old baby who arrived and was very ill, she had been through a terrible experience for one so young. The family had narrowly escaped from a deadly, war torn city, and had all of their possessions stolen, clothes, jewellery and mementoes, everything they owned had gone while queuing at the airport. The suffering they have gone through is unimaginable”.
“I later had the pleasure of reuniting the baby with her worried family, which was wonderful”.
The charity has been supplying first aid, volunteers, ambulance crews and supporting hundreds of refugees since Monday as they arrive in the UK from Afghanistan, via Birmingham and Manchester airports.
Dr Tester went on to say: “I saw horrendous scenes in Kabul on TV and just wanted to play a part and offer expert medical care, but also to simply give a warm welcome to these poor people after their horrific journey. I consider it a privilege, and a very humbling experience and I feel very proud and inspired by the humanity I saw there”.
“People exhausted and ill having gone through an unimaginable experience but still comforting each other. Children when realising they were safe beginning to play and smile again”.
“There has been such amazing support for all of these people from the public, I just hope it continues as they settle and begin building their lives here”.
Several charities have said they have been inundated with donations from the public in response to their Afghanistan appeals. The British Red Cross said it had been ‘overwhelmed’ by the kindness shown by citizens who have raised more than 1 million to equip refugees with essentials such as food, warm clothing, blankets, shoes and hygiene kits, including soap, nappies and toothbrushes. Money is also being used to help staff provide emotional support to those arriving and will also support the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.