Mercy flight carrying Afghan interpreters and Australians touches down in Perth as group prepare for hotel quarantine after escaping the horrors of Kabul
- The first evacuees from Afghanistan have arrived in Perth after fleeing Kabul in wake of Taliban takeover
- The flight, which had a stop-over at Dubai, arrived in the early hours of Friday with 90 evacuees on board
- Australian PM Scott Morrison has agreed to taking 3,000 Afghan refugees this financial year
- People on board the flight included Australian citizens and Afghans with protection visas
The first evacuees from Afghanistan have arrived in Perth as Australia continues a complex rescue operation in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Kabul.
The flight from Dubai arrived in the early hours of Friday and around 90 evacuees on board were loaded onto buses for transfer to hotel quarantine.
A large contingent of federal and state police were on hand to greet the group.
‘These evacuees are a mix of Australians and visa holders, obviously mainly the interpreters and the like that assisted our defence forces in Afghanistan,’ West Australian Premier Mark McGowan told state parliament.
‘We’ve been working on this arrangement since Saturday.’
The first evacuees from Afghanistan have arrived in Perth as part of Australia’s rescue operation in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Kabul
The group of Afghan nationals were taken to Hyatt Hotel in Perth where they will undergo two weeks of hotel quarantine before being settled by the federal government
The government has defended offering 3000 humanitarian places to Afghans fleeing the Taliban
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said federal officials were working with the WA government to ensure the evacuees received medical and mental health support.
‘This has been a difficult and distressing ordeal for many of the evacuees and we will help them through completing the mandatory 14 day quarantine,’ Mr Morrison said.
WA has agreed to take in the passengers above the state’s weekly quarantine arrivals cap.
Federal and state police were on hand when the evacuation flight landed in Perth overnight, The West Australian newspaper reported.
Other states will also be asked to help as the evacuation program continues.
On Thursday a further 76 Australian citizens and Afghans with protection visas were airlifted out of the Afghan capital to a base in the United Arab Emirates.
Another 40 Australian Defence Force personnel and provisions were also flown into Kabul to help with the rescue mission.
The latest evacuation adds to 26 people extracted from Kabul during the first flight.
Mr Morrison said weather and security issues were presenting challenges.
‘We are moving as quickly as we can.’
The flight was carrying a mixture of Australian citizens and Afghan interpreters
The group will be forced to undergo strict quarantine at the Hotel Wyatt in Perth
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said federal officials were working with the WA government to ensure the evacuees received medical and mental health support
Australia is working to establish its own staging area at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The government has defended offering 3000 humanitarian places to Afghans fleeing the Taliban despite other nations pledging intakes more than six times that figure.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke expects the initial commitment could rise to 5000 as the situation unfolds in Afghanistan.
World Vision is among groups calling on Australia to create an additional 20,000 humanitarian visas for people fleeing Afghanistan.
More than 300 organisations have signed an open letter saying the government has a moral duty to the Afghan people.
Red Cross has launched a public appeal for funds to provide health care and other humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, as well as support communities in Australia to locate and reconnect with missing family in Afghanistan caught up in the crisis.
‘Afghanistan is one of the world’s most fragile states. We know that humanitarian needs will remain high and are likely to increase,’ Australian Red Cross’ Adrian Prouse said.
WA has agreed to take in the passengers above the state’s weekly quarantine arrivals cap
Federal and state police were on hand when the evacuation flight landed in Perth overnight