Situation becomes ‘barely’ for 10,000 Afghan evacuees – including 2,000 pregnant women – in Ramstein
The situation is becoming “dire” at the US Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany, which currently houses 10,000 Afghan evacuees – including 2,000 pregnant women.
Nighttime temperatures have dropped to freezing, the 10-day humanitarian mission has already been extended to more than a month, measles cases among suspended flights and 22 babies have already been born in 10 weeks, sources said CNN.
One of CNN’s sources called the evacuees in Ramstein “the forgotten 10.”
The US air base in southwestern Germany was transformed into a “temporary humanitarian city” during the evacuation of Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country.
It was set up for evacuation screenings and processing, but a case of the measles among Afghan evacuees in the US complicated an already complicated situation by suspending flights until at least October 9.
Around that date, the US will announce whether it will restart flights or extend the temporary hiatus.
A member of the United States military pulls a cart between children and adults as he whiles away time in a tent town with temporary accommodation built by the United States Air Force for evacuees from Afghanistan at Ramstein Air Base on Sept. 20
About 350 tents were set up on the runway of the Ramstein Air Base in Germany as a ‘temporary humanitarian city’
United States Air Force first class aviator Luis Miranda greets children among evacuees from Afghanistan living in temporary accommodation at Ramstein Air Base at Ramstein Air Base on Sept. 20
Small children are among 10,000 Afghan evacuees who are part of the ‘forgotten 10’, a source told CNN
To accommodate the large influx of people, Ramstein’s airplane hangars were quickly cleared and more than 350 tents were set up on the slopes of the base with more than 10,000 cots and sleeping bags.
But only two-thirds of those tents are heated as officials work to secure heaters and generators, a source told CNN.
State Secretary Antony Blinken visited Ramstein Air Base about two weeks ago. The images of Ramstein during his visit showed a number of refugees sitting on the ground waiting to be processed.
When the military base first became a temporary city, conditions were simple. The encampment contained tents for prayer and medical services, showers, Porta Johns and small areas for recreation.
The base also contracted local suppliers to provide 30,000 meals per day. Dozens of pallets with water bottles were driven in every day.
The base and the evacuees relied on these outside suppliers for food and water, but the German embassy in the US downplayed any concerns about the longer-than-expected stay.
“It remains our mutual understanding that Ramstein Air Base can be used for a limited time as a transit point for evacuees from Afghanistan en route to the US. We are confident that air operations will resume soon,” an embassy spokesperson told CNN.
But simple necessities — such as baby bottles — have become scarce.
Erin Gonzalez, an Army volunteer and wife, said: Stars and Stripes that they have distributed thousands of baby bottles to mothers who need them because malnutrition and stress make it difficult to produce breast milk.
Moldy bottles were thrown away because there was no way to clean and sanitize them.
With so many expectant mothers, the situation is only going to get worse.
The Ramstein Command approved a volunteer effort that turned a bar with a dishwasher and space for storage, sorting and drying into a bottle-cleaning area, Stars and Stripes reported.
The makeshift city on the runway at the US Air Force base in Germany has been in use for nearly two months longer than originally planned
This is the before and after look at one of the runways was turned into a temporary city
Groups of six to eight volunteers disinfect hundreds of bottles daily, working two four-hour shifts, often lasting longer, the outlet reported.
It takes about an hour to clean 200 bottles and an air compressor speeds up drying. On the busiest day, about 900 bottles are disinfected.
Ramstein was the main stopping point during the evacuation of Afghanistan.
About a fifth of all people flown by the US from Kabul were taken to Ramstein – about 100 miles southwest of Frankfurt.
Many left relatives or broke up in the chaotic attempt to flee the violence in Afghanistan.