- Title: Afghan evacuees leave Germany for United States
- Date: 9th October 2021
- Summary: RAMSTEIN, GERMANY (OCTOBER 9, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF U.S. SOLDIERS ON TARMAC WITH BIG 'WELCOME' SIGN' VARIOUS OF COLONEL ADRIENNE WILLIAMS (RED HAIR) LOOKING AFTER AFGHAN EVACUEES ON TARMAC WHILE THEY ARE LEAVING / HAVING THEIR LUGGAGE STORED U.S. SOLDIER 'FISTBUMPING' WITH SMALL AFGHAN CHILD VARIOUS OF AFGHAN EVACUEES IN TENT (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOSEPH VANGA, TECHNICAL SERGEANT U.S. ARMY, SAYING: "We pretty much are the main hub for all information to process passengers out of our secondary terminals that we built here at Ramstein. With that it's a lot of work, a lot of information that we have to get across to a different agencies in order to get these guys out in a timely manner. With that you get very busy and involved with the work that is going on. It's about 12, 13, 14 hour long days. But it's all gratifying at the end because you see all the happy smiles that come through, and all the children and the families that are so excited to go on their next journey to America, and see something new and be free." SIGN READING 'MESSAGES FROM AMERICAN CHILDREN AT VOGELWEH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, DODEA VARIOUS OF AFGHAN EVACUEES SITTING AND WAITING U.S. ARMY PERSONNEL APPLICATIONS VARIOUS OF AFGHAN EVACUEES IN TENT CITY, U.S. SOLDIERS PLAYING WITH AFGHAN CHILDREN GENERAL JOSH OLSON SPEAKING TO PRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL JOSH OLSON, SAYING: "And now as we finish up and complete the mission, and synchronizing this incredible mission with the largest air lift in history, it is a little bit humbling to finally to see it all and get back to normal operations." GERMAN AND U.S. FLAGS (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL JOSH OLSON, SAYING: "It's funny, as an air base, really our focus is air lift, medical evacuation and air drop. And Germany being a good partner and host, that's kind of our chore so to speak. Turning into a camp like this and to feed ...at one point we had 21,000 on the ramp, and we never in a million years would think that how we could build a tent city that is bigger than the five surrounding towns, and doubling the population of this area of Germany pretty fast. So, wow I guess is the only thing ... And to be honest we couldn't do it without... we needed everyone, we needed volunteers, we needed NGOs. This has been a state-led operation from the beginning. We're just kind of the muscle behind it. And so far in great partnerships with U.S.O., Red Cross, and even the local communities, in everything from food, water, contracts, they've been incredible from the beginning." U.S. SOLDIERS WITH AFGHAN EVACUEES (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL JOSH OLSON, SAYING: "We gave them mumps and measles vaccinations. A couple of days after that we did have one case, that was already quarantined, and he was in the hospital. A little guy. But that was the only case that we've had. So we were able to do all MMR, mumps, measles, rubella, vaccination, we were able to do chickenpox. And then recently we were COVID testing, and we were also doing flu shots before they get to the U.S. So they got the full script of vaccines and they are ready to go." U.S. SOLDIERS WITH AFGHAN EVACUEES
- Embargoed: 23rd October 2021 16:55
- Keywords: Afghan evacuees Afghanistan United States
- Location: RAMSTEIN, GERMANY
- City: RAMSTEIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Europe
- Reuters ID: LVA001EYFRGP3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A sprawling U.S. airbase in a remote part of Germany has become a temporary home for Afghan families, many of whom abandoned everything during the chaotic evacuation from Kabul airport, but the army is now able to fly them onwards to a new home in the United States.
Several thousand Afghan evacuees airlifted out of Kabul found temporary housing at the Ramstein army base in south-western Germany, where they had to undergo coronavirus quarantine, medical checks and vaccinations against various diseases, before they are able to continue to the USA. Several hundred are now on their way to a new life there.
"We gave them mumps and measles vaccinations. A couple of days after that we did have one case, that was already quarantined, and he was in the hospital. A little guy. But that was the only case that we've had. So we were able to do all MMR, mumps, measles, rubella, vaccination, we were able to do chickenpox. And then recently we were COVID testing, and we were also doing flu shots before they get to the U.S. So they got the full script of vaccines and they are ready to go," U.S. army general Josh Olsen said.
The evacuees include children, housed in heated tents at the base near Kaiserslautern. The UN's children's agency UNICEF said it had registered around 300 separated and unaccompanied children linked to more than 120,000 evacuations from Afghanistan, with some ending up in countries such as Germany and Qatar.
On the base, U.S. officials and UNICEF experts have been supporting Afghan children sheltering there until they can be reunited with their families or moved into foster care in the United States.
There are play areas, toys, and a bouncy castle, as well as child specialists who can help with mental health issues, should they be needed.
Around 140 flights carrying roughly 34,000 evacuees from Afghanistan have arrived in Ramstein since the largest airlift in U.S. history began in mid-August, according to the U.S. military, making the base the biggest port of arrival in Europe.
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