Asylum seekers left ‘distressed, disorientated, lost’ after being stranded in London

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A group of 11 migrants were left at Victoria coach station, London without any accommodation or food. They were removed from Manston, the overcrowded processing centre in Kent.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The individuals were transported to Victoria coach station, London, because they said they had accommodation in that location which would not leave them destitute.

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The government is under fire for overcrowding and dire living conditions at the Manston migrant holding facility. Credit: Getty ImagesThe government is under fire for overcrowding and dire living conditions at the Manston migrant holding facility. Credit: Getty Images
The government is under fire for overcrowding and dire living conditions at the Manston migrant holding facility. Credit: Getty Images | Getty Images

“They told us they had accommodation with friends of family available to them. Any suggestion there was an error in transporting the individuals to Victoria is wrong.”

Clare Moseley, of the refugee charity Care4Calais, said the Home Office had a duty of care to house asylum seekers. “They should not be leaving people on the street. We have had heard of another case of someone being driven from Manston to Southhampton, where there was no hotel room for them. It is absolutely chaotic and horrific.”

Danial Abbas, from the Under One Sky homelessness charity, said the men were left “highly distressed, disorientated, lost” and with “nowhere to go”.

Mr Abbas told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "They were simply just turning to anyone and everyone on the street to help.

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"We were almost glad that we were there at the right place at the right time to provide them with the sort of care and love and compassion that we did."

Without food and warm clothing, volunteers from the homelessness charity went to a Primark to buy extra clothes and food from McDonald’s.

One of the asylum seekers, an economics student from Iraq, told the Guardian: “We were told we should go to our families or friends. I don’t have any family in the UK.

“I asked what should I do for the night, it’s cold. He [the bus driver] said: you need to go.”

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A British Transport Police spokesperson said its officers were called just after 10.30pm on Tuesday night to a report of asylum seekers looking for assistance. A statement was released, saying: ‘Officers engaged and liaised with charity partners, rail staff, and government colleagues to help them find accommodation for the evening.’

Downing Street earlier confirmed that home secretary Suella Braverman, is visiting the Manston processing centre for asylum seekers this afternoon. A spokesperson said: “The home secretary is visiting Western Jet Foil and Coastguard HQ in Dover this morning.

“She’ll meet with Border Force staff and military personnel to discuss operations in the Channel, she’ll then be in Manston this afternoon where she will speak with staff and receive an update on the situation on the ground.”

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