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Home Office 'dumps cold and hungry asylum seekers in central London' ahead of major storm

The Home Office abandoned a group of cold and hungry asylum seekers in central London, it has been reported.

About 40 people were taken by bus from the Manston migrant centre in Kent, but 11 of them had nowhere to go after being dropped off at Victoria railway station on Tuesday evening.

Danial Abbas, a volunteer with the Under One Sky homelessness charity, spotted the disoriented group of men without jackets and wearing flip-flops as heavy showers hit the capital overnight.

A yellow weather warning for rain has been issued for the South East, stretching from Portsmouth to Canterbury, from midnight until mid-afternoon today.

The Home Office said it was told the group had accommodation with friends of family available to them, and that it "worked at pace" to find them shelter once discovering they had no place to stay.

It comes after immigration minister Robert Jenrick estimated about 3,500 people remained at the controversy-hit Manston facility in Kent last night - despite its maximum capacity of 1,600.

The Government is currently procuring hotels to relieve pressure on the centre, near Ramsgate, but Mr Jenrick said he suspected it would take roughly seven days for numbers to drop to an "acceptable level".

Mr Abbas, who provided the stranded group with emergency supplies of clothes and food, told the Guardian: "They were stressed, disturbed and completely disoriented. They were also very hungry."

Roughly 50 asylum seekers transported from Kent were left at the same station late on Saturday night, claimed a witness.

An Afghan asylum seeker, who wished not to be named, said: "They were still on the street at midnight, trying to work out what to do, where to go.

"They had no money, and hadn’t even been told where they were."

A Home Office worker admitted a "massive error" had been made, said Mr Abbas - a claim which the government department denies.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "(They were) simply just turning to anyone and everyone on the street to help.

"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."

Asked if he had spoken to anyone at the Home Office about the situation, he said: "I personally was in touch with a gentleman from the Home Office that whole evening. Very quickly a solution was found.

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