- Title: Italians work to bring back smiles of evacuated Afghan children
- Date: 24th August 2021
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (AUGUST 24, 2021) (REUTERS) ITALIAN POLICE CHIEF BLOWING HIS WHISTLE ORGANISING AFGHAN EVACUEE CHILDREN INTO GAMES AFGHAN CHILDREN SITTING DOWN POLICE CHIEF BLOWING HIS WHISTLE CHILDREN WITH BALLOONS SEATED AT FEET OF POLICE CHIEF VARIOUS POLICE WITH CHILDREN CHILDREN SEATED ON GROUND CHILDREN PLAYING PARENTS LOOKING ON (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ITALIAN POLICE CHIEF, GIUSEPPE DI COSTE, SAYING: "The children are very sad. Many of them fall asleep, they are very tired. Others seem lost, not even knowing where they are. Many children, especially those slightly older between 13-14-years-old stay sad because they know that they will probably never return home. Those who are smaller are a bit more carefree. After an hour or two we are together, they start finding their smiles again. They start getting their energy for life back." VARIOUS OF POLICE CHIEF ORGANISING VOLLEYBALL MATCH WITH CHILDREN PARENTS LOOKING ON (SOUNDBITE) (English) 46-YEAR-OLD SHAFIQULLAH DAUD ZARIF, AFGHAN INTERPRETER FOR ITALIAN ARMY, SAYING: "It was terrible, it was too difficult to go out from Kabul because in the surrounds of the airport there were a thousand of the Taliban and it was too difficult to go out. It means that it was playing with your life to go out from Kabul, but we did it." (SOUNDBITE) (English) 14-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER OF INTERPRETER SAYING: "I feel so bad because every girl wants to go to school and learn something." JOURNALIST ASKING QUESTION "I am feeling so good and I want to complete my studies here." (SOUNDBITE) (English) 27-YEAR-OLD FILM DIRECTOR AND JOURNALIST, SAYING: "Since we have education and work our hope for the future is to be able to work in our field again. Our hearts are burning for Afghanistan, what will happen? I call for the international community and the foreign countries to help Afghanistan." VARIOUS OF WOMEN SEATED CHILDREN PLAYING (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF MIGRATION FOR ITALIAN RED CROSS FRANCESCA BASILE SAYING: "Obviously when they come here they are stranded. They really face a bad trip and very bad days. They are tired psychologically and physically. So it is very important also the material assistance we give. So at first breakfast, serving chai, the tea because it represents for them reception, home and also assistance." POLICE PROCESSING PAPERWORK FOR AFGHAN EVACUEES AFGHANS QUEUING COMPUTERS WITH AFGHAN FACE IN THE BACKGROUND POLICE PROCESSING PAPERWORK VARIOUS OF PASSPORTS LAID OUT IN LINES VARIOUS OF DIGITAL PRINTS ARE BEING TAKEN
- Embargoed: 7th September 2021 14:59
- Keywords: Afghan evacuees Evacuation Fiumicino airport Kabul
- Location: ROME, ITALY
- City: ROME, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Europe
- Reuters ID: LVA001ERN32VB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Exhausted and dazed over 100 Afghan evacuees arrived at Rome's Fiumicino airport on Tuesday (August 24) after their treacherous journey leaving Afghanistan.
Many young children made up the group, including a tiny newly-born baby.
After a few hours, laughter slowly began to seep through the airport terminal, the Italian police chief had rounded up a gaggle of children and was blowing his whistle to organise an impromptu volleyball match.
"The children are very sad," explains police chief Giuseppe di Coste.
"Many of them fall asleep, they are very tired. Others seem lost, not even knowing where they are," he said.
"After an hour or two we are together, they start finding their smiles again. They start getting their energy for life back," di Coste said.
All those arriving from Afghanistan have to undergo a 10-day quarantine after arrival, normally housed in a military base. But for now, everyone is just relieved they are safe.
"It means that it was playing with your life to go out from Kabul, but we did it," said 46-year-old Shafiqullah Daud Zarif, a former interpreter for the Italian army, who had reached Italy with his wife and child.
"I feel so bad because every girl wants to go to school and learn something," said his 14-year-old daughter.
"I am feeling so good and I want to complete my studies here," she said.
Before the Afghans get off their plane in Rome, cultural advisors from the Italian Red Cross, explain what will happen to them. They are first given Covid-19 tests before the work of identification and officially receiving asylum status is carried out. Many boast it takes only fifteen minutes for authorities to process an application of an Afghan refugee.
"Obviously when they come here they are stranded," said Head of Migration for the Italian Red Cross, Francesca Basile.
"They really face a bad trip and very bad days," she said.
" So it is very important also the material assistance we give. So at first breakfast, serving chai, the tea because it represents for them, reception, home and also assistance," she said.
Basile said she was expecting between 4-5 flights a day carrying Afghan evacuees, at least for the next few days.
G7 leaders later in the day are expected to discuss whether the evacuation process could be prolonged. The Americans have said the last flight out of Afghanistan is currently scheduled for August 31. Taliban leaders have said there is no discussion about an extension of this date.
(Production: Gabriele Pileri, Eleanor Biles)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None