- According to Axios, a US official described in detail the “humanitarian crisis” at a facility for Afghan refugees in Qatar.
- The official described a “human disaster” with bodily fluids and debris on the floor.
- While the State Department and the Department of Defense say the situation has improved, it highlights the challenges for US officials.
- See more stories on the Insider Business page.
Axios reported on Tuesday that US Central Command liaisons were working in detail on the “terrible situation” and “humanitarian catastrophe” at a center in Doha, Qatar.
Colin Sullivan, who serves the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, described “a fatal humanitarian catastrophe.” In an email titled “Conditions in Doha”. Axios
“While in no way reducing the situation in Kabul and the situation of Afghans. [sic] “The current situation in Doha is our own business,” Sullivan said, according to Axios.
Sullivan leaked details to US embassy staff in Doha that described the scorching heat for refugees as well as the heat in Qatar.
“Today is a humid day,” a message said. “Where Afghans are housed is a living hell. Garbage, urine, feces, spilled liquid and vomit cover the floor.”
Another employee added, “I spent an hour there picking up trash … almost almost suffocated.”
One message called the situation “the middle of a humanitarian crisis.” [sic] Which integrates with every flight that lands in Doha. “
The United States has been able to expel tens of thousands of Afghan refugees since the fall of the US-backed Afghan government. But the more-than-expected Taliban takeover of the country besieged the US military and the State Department, leaving them reluctant to complete evacuation efforts in the face of a massive influx of refugees from Qatar.
The situation in Qatar has improved since Sullivan’s warning, but it highlights the complex challenges of the United States’ efforts to evacuate as many refugees as possible.
A State Department spokesman told Axis that the department was working swiftly to address the problem and was increasing the number of consular staff in Qatar.
“More than 3,700 people were taken to follow-on destinations in the United States, Germany and Italy,” the spokesman added.
When refugees leave Afghans on Afghan military planes, most are taken to Qatar’s Al-Eid Air Base for further action. And the scorching heat in the Middle Eastern country, coupled with the constant influx of people into nearby constituencies, gave a sigh of relief.
The Department of Defense also told Axis that it has taken active action to improve the conditions of incoming refugees, including more toilets.
“We are committed to providing a safe, secure and sanitary environment,” Navy Capt. William Urban told Axios on behalf of US Central Command.
“The flow has been difficult, but we have made progress in caring for and protecting these vulnerable people and moving them forward,” Urban said.