A NURSE helped deliver an Afghan refugee’s baby in a hotel room in a “scary and nerve-wracking” ordeal.

Melanie Clark, an RAF veteran who is a nurse at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, had arrived in London intending to volunteer for Ems4Afghans, handing out supplies to refugees, but got more than she bargained for.

She had been setting up a donations stall with fellow veteran Matt Simmons when the drama began.

Ms Clark said: “Matt handed me a phone and basically said this man’s wife is pregnant – she’s in pain.

“We went up to the room, I thought I would be maybe reassuring someone and making sure an ambulance was on its way.”

Neither the woman nor her husband spoke much English, but a fellow volunteer was able to translate.

Questions and answers had to be relayed from the ambulance control room to Ms Clark and her colleague and then translated for the husband and wife, and back again.

The Argus: Ems4Afghans donation stalls. Photo: PAEms4Afghans donation stalls. Photo: PA

At some point, Ms Clark said, it became clear that paramedics would not arrive in time and that she would be delivering the baby – for the first time in her life.

Ms Clark said: “I am a nurse but midwifery didn’t come in our nurse training.

“Before the baby arrived, before its head came out, it was scary.

“It was scary and nerve-wracking about whether this was going to turn out OK.”

Without knowing the mother’s medical history, she was conscious there could be issues she was not aware of.

The baby boy – the mother’s sixth child – was born safely and swiftly.But Ms Clark, who served in Iraq with the RAF, says it raises questions about the level of medical care available for refugees in the UK.

“They are registered with a GP but the level of support they have had and the knowledge of their pregnancies is very, very limited.

“I just thought, I am sure it will happen again.”

She said more needs to be done to help those evacuated from Afghanistan.

The Argus: Melanie Clark holding the newly born baby.Melanie Clark holding the newly born baby.

“We can’t just stand by. Just bringing them into this country is not enough because they are traumatised and they need some kind of future, they need to know what’s happening next. I went to Iraq. I have seen the difficulties people face and the effects of war on people.”

The birth of a baby to an Afghan refugee in a hotel room without a doctor present shows the “cold reality” of the delays faced by many families evacuated to the UK, aid organisations warn.

It raises questions about care for the 8,000 Afghan evacuees pulled out during the Kabul airlift this summer, many of who are living in hotels across the country.

Volunteer groups have sprung up in the weeks since the huge evacuation effort, providing food and clothing to refugees while they wait for the system to find them a home.

Almost three months on from the airlift, the Home Office said the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme is “not yet open” and that more information will be provided in due course.

Louise Calvey, head of services and safeguarding at the charity Refugee Action, said people brought to the UK during the Kabul airlift were “living in limbo”.

She said: “We’d like to offer our congratulations to the family. We hope they can build safe and happy lives in the UK.

“But it’s appalling that three months after the evacuation of Kabul thousands of Afghan refugees are still living in limbo in hotels with no settled access to employment, healthcare or education.

“Rather than the warm welcome people were promised, they’re seeing the cold reality of our refugee protection system.

“Ministers must move quicker to get people out of hotels and integrated into our communities, where they can start to properly rebuild their lives.”

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