The requirement

On August 21st 2021, we received an urgent request to support the evacuation of Afghan nationals to the UK. GSA Global supplied round-the-clock staff for evacuees at airport arrivals to manage immediate welfare needs and ensure their safe transportation to quarantine hotels where their stay was supported. It was a disturbing and difficult assignment for all involved, with traumatised refugees lacking clothes and shoes, who had been at Kabul airport in 40 degree heat for many days and witnessed an explosion at the airport where more than 100 were killed.

The solution

Our welfare team met arrivals on the tarmac and organised teddy bears for the children. They also supplied urgent clothing, toiletries and met any other immediate requirements for the arrivals. Many had injuries and even a child was born in flight, so we also helped ensure emergency services were on hand to assist.

We also worked closely with the DHSC to track all Afghan guests through the Managed Quarantine Service (MQS) estate, alongside linking with charities and other stakeholders to offer support to guests throughout their stay. The PAX tracker, created by GSA, was used by DHSC and the Government to confirm all Afghan-related movements through the MQS estate.

The DHSC Director appointed a GSA Logistics and Stakeholder Manager, who was responsible for representing the DHSC at strategic level meetings, as well as coordinating effort to all the agencies outside of the Royal Air Force.

The result

Approximately 14,000 Afghan guests were supported through this initial phase of repatriation. We then continued to support the Ministry of Defence (MOD) with ad-hoc Afghan arrivals at Brize Norton over the following 18 months. Our staff worked day and night to ensure that all arrivals were properly transferred to their accommodation.

“I am writing to give you my heartfelt thanks for all the hard and excellent work you do as part of the Managed Quarantine Service”, said one individual working at the MQS. “And especially for the amazing work carried out in supporting the arrival of almost 14,000 evacuees from Afghanistan.” Director of Operations Managed Quarantine Services, Department of Health and Social Care