Reports emerge of scabies and overcrowding at migrant centre – – Our News, Your Views

Reports emerge of scabies and overcrowding at migrant centre

A watchdog has asked the UK Home Office to “get a grip” of the problems at the Manston Migrant Processing Centre in Kent.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor said the government department and its contractors must speed up the treatment of migrants and make “appropriate arrangements” so that people can be moved off the site near Ramsgate in Kent as quickly as possible. possible.

His comments came as he published the results of an inspection, carried out at the facility in July, which warned that serious challenges remain for migrants crossing the Channel and arriving in Kent.

Some families are said to have slept on the floor of the centre and there are reports of disease outbreaks, including cases of diphtheria, MRSA and scabies.

According to RTE, Taylor told BBC Radio 4 Today: “The Home Office and contractors need to get a grip, they need to speed up the processing of migrants, they need to make suitable provisions so people can be moved off site as quickly as possible and housed in humane and decent conditions.”

This is the first time the watchdog, which examines conditions in prisons and other detention centres, has inspected Manston, which opened in January, and two other migrant treatment centres on the South Coast.

Manston, in a disused airport near Ramsgate, is supposed to be a short-term detention center where immigration papers are issued and some immigrants begin the asylum screening process.

They are meant to stay only up to 24 hours. Although there is food, water, showers and toilets, the prison supervisor said there are no beds and no access to the outdoors or exercise.

When the migrants initially arrive in Kent after crossing the English Channel from Calais, they are taken to the Western Jet Foil sites in Dover and Lydd Airport in Romney Marsh for health checks. The Lydd Airport site was vacant at the time of the inspection.

In the watchdog’s findings, released today, the inspectors highlighted “gaps” in procedures at Manston that “undermine the resilience of the centre for dealing with increasing volumes of detainees,” reported RTE.

But they also found the housing to be suitable for short-term detention, noting the staff’s efforts to “create a calm and even welcoming atmosphere”, reports RTE.

Manston was described as having a “fair amount” of accommodation available but, at the time of inspection, much of it was out of use because there were not enough staff”, reports RTE.

Other “signs of stress” included “exhausted inmates” sleeping on the floor, including some who had waited more than 30 hours to be tried.

Last week, another watchdog, Chief Immigration and Border Inspector David Neal, said that during a visit to Manston he had met families who had been at the facility for more than a month.

He told MPs that the conditions he encountered at the centre left him “speechless”.

The prison supervisor also noted:

– Victims of trafficking, people with disabilities and serious mental health conditions, and other vulnerable detainees “not always assessed or recorded appropriately”” and some were not identified as “adults at risk,” reports RTE.

– The inspection raised concerns for the well-being and dignity of detainees. Some were not allowed to use cell phones to let their families know they were safe and, in parts of the site, others were “inexplicably” not allowed to fully close bathroom doors.

– Translation services were not always used to ensure that detainees understood what was happening.

Taylor said the inspection revealed a number of “risks” to the facility and since then information from “several credible sources”, including other watchdogs, has suggested the current situation has “significantly worsened”.

As a result, he was planning a “quick return” to Manston for another inspection when he “expects to see substantial improvements.”

“In the meantime, the Home Office and its contractors need to get a grip and urgently act on the findings of this report to make sure all detainees are held in safe, decent and humane conditions,” he said, reports RTE.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Suella Braverman, under pressure, has vowed to fix the UK’s “broken” asylum system and rejected calls to resign over her response to the migrant crisis.

In a combative performance in the House of Commons yesterday, Ms Braverman denied ignoring legal advice for more housing amid warnings that Manston was dangerously overcrowded.

Given that the government spends £6.8m a day to house migrants in hotels, at an average cost of £150 per person per night, he insisted it was right to order a review of the way the system was run. system.

But some opposition MPs criticized her for inflaming the situation after saying the government had pledged to “stopping the invasion on our southern coast”, reports RTE.

The interior minister said she would visit the facility “shortly” and continue to “personally” oversee efforts to resolve problems there.

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