Cold, hungry migrants stranded in London after 'error' - with one teenager left to sleep on the streets

2 November 2022, 21:53

The migrants waiting at Victoria
The migrants waiting at Victoria. Picture: Danial Abbas

By Fraser Knight

A group of around 40 asylum seekers have been left abandoned on the streets of London after being transported out of the Manston processing centre.

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The men, understood to have been from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, were dropped off at London Victoria Station on Tuesday night with nowhere to go.

Danial Abass, who’s a volunteer at the homeless charity Under One Sky, said the group of men approached him and asked for help.

He told LBC: “They were distressed, they were lost, hungry, they were in flip flops. They didn’t know where to go or who to seek help from. They had just been dropped off and left on the street.

Migrants waiting at Victoria
Migrants waiting at Victoria. Picture: Danial Abbas

“They’d been in the UK for three weeks and were sleeping on concrete floors at Manston.

“And when they explained to the bus driver, they thought they were supposed to be going to the hotel and had no money they were just told to go. The exact response was ‘go, go, go’.”

Read more: 'We really need your help': Migrant children throw letter over wall begging for help to escape 'prison'

Mr Abass explained to LBC that he and his colleagues spent hundreds of pounds buying the group food and clothes, as they contacted the Home Office to ask for support.

The migrants were allegedly stranded in 'error'
The migrants were allegedly stranded in 'error'. Picture: Danial Abbas

British Transport Police was also called, with a statement saying officers arrived just after 22:30 and that no criminal offence had been committed.

LBC understands around 30 members of the group went to see friends and family that they knew around London, while another 11 waited for taxis to take them to Norwich where they’re being housed in a hotel.

One man, an 18-year-old, we’re told - wasn’t included in the group and spent the night on the streets.

Clare Moseley, founder of the charity Care4Calais, told LBC she thinks officials may have panicked in trying to get people out of the site at Manston, after reports of disease because of overcrowding.

'Are migrants being detained at camps rather than being moved to hotel

She said: “It’s absolutely chaotic, the Home Office has a duty to house asylum seekers but the system is just falling apart. “It makes no sense – we’ve been hearing for months if not years about the number of people arriving on our South Coast.

"It’s not like we didn’t know this was going to happen, it should’ve been planned for.”

Volunteers involved in getting asylum seekers to their accommodation sites say the Home Office put the issue down to human error.

Read more: Not tackling immigration 'could lead to resurgence of UKIP', warns Tory MP and former UKIP deputy leader

Earlier this week, LBC reported that backlogs in asylum seekers leaving the Manston processing site in Kent were being made worse by Home Secretary Suella Braverman failing to approve the use of new hotels in Conservative voting areas.

Minister: Conditions at Manston migrant centre 'poor but they are improving'

Read more: Suella Braverman 'refused hotel bookings for migrants because they were in Tory areas'

The immigration minister Robert Jenrick denied that claim, while Ms Braverman insisted in the Commons that she “never ignored legal advice” around keeping asylum seekers in detention for longer than 24 hours.

She also told MPs: “At every point I have worked hard to find alternative accommodation to relieve the pressure at Manston. “What I have refused to do is to prematurely release thousands of people into local communities without having anywhere to stay.”

The Migrant Help charity said: “It is of course concerning to hear about this; and if this was indeed the case then our sympathies go to the people who have been put into this situation through no fault of their own.”

A Home Office spokesperson commented: "We do not comment on operational arrangements at Manston.

"Manston remains resourced and equipped to process migrants securely and we will provide alternative accommodation as soon as possible."