Five-year-old Afghan refugee whose family fled Taliban days ago dies in UK hotel fall
A five-year-old boy who recently arrived in Britain from Afghanistan died after falling out of a hotel window in northern England, British police confirmed on Thursday.
South Yorkshire Police said the boy fell from the ninth floor of a hotel in Sheffield on to a neighbouring car park at around 2:30 pm (1330 GMT) on Wednesday.
The forced confirmed he had come from Afghanistan and said specialist officers were supporting his family.
According to British media reports, the boy was living with his father, mother, two brothers and two sisters at the Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel.
One refugee told local news website YorkshireLive the boy's family arrived in Sheffield four days ago after escaping the Taliban.
"They came here to save their lives and now this has happened. It is so sad," he was quoted as saying.
A former British army interpreter was quoted by The Sun as saying: "There was a crowd and shouting. I saw out the window there was a child fallen down.
"His mother was crying. She explained to me that he was standing close to the window and he was watching downstairs," the 35-year-old said.
Police said they were not treating the death as suspicious.
But the Refugee Council charity wants Britain's interior ministry to urgently investigate the incident and warned of "variable" accommodation quality for refugees.
The collapse of Afghanistan's government to the Taliban Islamist insurgency last week has sparked a refugee exodus and mass evacuation operation by foreign powers.
The boy's father was reportedly a senior humanitarian worker and worked for Britain's embassy in Kabul, making him a potential Taliban target.
The UK had repatriated 306 British nationals and safely resettled 2,052 Afghan citizens by Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
On Tuesday, the UK government announced a scheme to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees in the coming years and aims to welcome 5,000 in the first year.
A further 5,000 Afghans who worked with the British Army as interpreters, and their families, will be granted refuge in the UK under a separate scheme.
Campaigners have criticised the standard of accommodation and that vulnerable refugees and asylum claimants, some with mental health conditions, had been forced to stay inside during the coronavirus pandemic.
UK lawmakers have also criticised the government for providing substandard accommodation for undocumented migrants in southeast England, with record numbers of people crossing the English Channel illegally this year.