Charities warn that the Migrant Treatment Center in Manston, England is operating in dire conditions


London
CNN

Charities and British officials have warned of increasingly harsh conditions at England’s migrant processing center and urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to act.

British Conservative MP Roger Gale said on Monday the situation at the Manston asylum processing center was a “violation of humanitarian conditions”, with dozens of charities writing to the prime minister raising concerns about “overcrowding”.

Local MP Gale told Sky News that the immigration center at Manston in Kent, southeast England, currently accommodates around 4,000 people, including women and children, although it was only supposed to accommodate 1,500 people.

“This is totally unacceptable,” said Gill, who visited the former RAF base last week, although he added that staff were “trying to do a good job under impossible conditions”.

It comes as dozens of charities signed an open letter from the Affirmative Action in Housing charity to Sunak, raising concerns about what they called “overcrowding and inhumane conditions” at the Manston Center.

“We take the safety and well-being of those in our care very seriously and are working closely with our health professionals and the UK’s Health Security Agency to ensure their safety,” the Home Office told CNN.

The Home Office also confirmed that it was aware of a very small number of diphtheria cases reported at the Manston Center: “The Home Office provides 24/7 health facilities in Manston, including trained medical staff and a physician.”

On Sunday, local police confirmed that about 700 people who crossed the English Channel in small boats were taken to Manston after “incendiary devices” were thrown at an immigration center in Dover.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick, who visited Manston on Sunday, acknowledged there was “tremendous pressure” at the center in a tweet on Twitter.

More than 1,000 migrants crossed the canal yesterday is a huge pressure. “I’ve been very impressed with the staff I’ve met, and they’re managing this unbearable situation,” Jenrick said on Sunday.

The warnings come as criticism continues over the reappointment of Suila Braverman as Minister of the Interior. Braverman is known for her tough stance on immigration.

More than a hundred refugee charities wrote an open letter to Braverman on Monday, urging them to tackle what they called a “backlog of asylum cases” and create safe routes for refugees to travel to Britain.

The letter referred to comments Braverman made during the Conservative Party conference earlier in October, in which she said it would be her “dream” and “obsession” to see the front page of the Telegraph showing a migrant plane taking off for Rwanda. Some asylum seekers could be transferred to the UK under a controversial scheme.

I have pointed out this country’s proud history of providing haven. So, we ask that you achieve this with a fair, gentle and efficient system for refugees.”

Braverman – who referred to the illegal crossing of the English Channel as an “invasion” – defended her immigration policies on Monday.

Speaking to lawmakers in the House of Commons, she said she had tried to prepare the Manston site to receive a wave of people, and denied allegations that she had banned the use of hotels for immigrants.

“It anticipated concerns at Manston in September and deployed additional resources and personnel to provide a rapid increase in emergency housing,” she said.

“What I refused to do was to prematurely release thousands of people in local communities without them having anywhere to stay,” she added, noting that would be “the worst thing that could be done.”

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