The Red Cross helping evacuees from Afghanistan in Finland

Three Red Cross volunteers at the airport
Photo: Janne Leskinen / Suomen Punainen Risti

The Finnish authorities requested the help of the Red Cross in receiving people arriving from Afghanistan.

Volunteers from the Finnish Red Cross have been helping people evacuated from Afghanistan at Helsinki Airport over the past few days. The authorities asked the Red Cross for support in the exceptional operation.

Red Cross volunteers have distributed hand sanitiser and face masks at the airport, offered those arriving in Finland food and drink and provided people with hygiene packages, blankets and cuddly toys for children.

In addition to this, the volunteers have been on stand-by to listen to and provide emotional support to the evacuees in cooperation with the authorities.

“The authorities asked us for help with receiving evacuees from Afghanistan. A total of 150 trained volunteers expressed their willingness to help in a matter of days,” says First Aid CoordinatorNiina Hirvonen from the Helsinki and Uusimaa district of the Finnish Red Cross.

The situation in Afghanistan deteriorated quickly nearly two weeks ago, when the Taliban took control of the country.

“Welcoming evacuees from Afghanistan not only illustrates the willingness to help in Finnish society, but also the excellent cooperation of the Finnish authorities and the Red Cross. As a preparedness organisation, the Red Cross is always ready to support the authorities at times like this. These situations also emphasise the role of trained volunteers,” says Erja Reinikainen, Head of Immigration Work at the Finnish Red Cross.

The reception of evacuees from Afghanistan at the airport was organised by the Finnish Immigration Service, and some of the operation was managed by the City of Vantaa’s Social Emergency and Crisis Center.

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