Original article from Kent Live
Pontins at Camber Sands could be the new temporary home for Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban takeover of their home country, according to recent reports.
According to the Mirror Online, the holiday resort firm has been keen to offer assistance, with government sources identifying two specific locations that could be used to help house those fleeing the unrest in Kabul.
Camber Sands in East Sussex, just on the cusp of the Kent border, could be one of these locations, along with any of Pontins' five other resorts in Lowestoft, Southport, Kewstoke, Prestatyn and Weston-Super-Mare.
This news comes after recent reports of Kent's asylum system revealed systemic issues with intake facilities and existing accommodation at locations like Napier Barracks.
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MPs and activists have argued many of these already in-use sites are unfit for service and lack proper funding to help Kent share the responsibility of housing vulnerable people with the rest of the UK.
KentLive uses the term people when referring to those who cross the Channel and arrive on our shores.
That's because, regardless of their status at the point of entry, those moving from one country to the other are human beings.
You will have seen them commonly referred to as migrants. This is not incorrect.
The UN Migration Agency defines a migrant as – any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a state away from his/her habitual place of residence, regardless of the person’s legal status, whether the movement is voluntary or involuntary, what the causes for the movement are, or what the length of the stay is.
KentLive also refers to people in these circumstances as refugees.
The UN definition of refugees is – people who are outside their country of origin for reasons of feared persecution, conflict, generalised violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order and, as a result, require international protection.
Pontins itself hit headlines recently after some guests complained about the quality of their stay.
Mum Shereen Garraghan, 36, said the Camber Sands resort was “the filthiest place I have ever been to” and the camp should be "shut down".
She added: "I've seen prisons cleaner. People are paying to live in conditions you wouldn’t leave dogs in."
The firm has not yet responded to those allegations.
It is not clear which two sites have been identified for possible use.
But officials are scrambling to house those evacuated from the airport in the last two weeks after the UK airlifted more than 13,000 Brits and Afghans out of Kabul.
The number is greater than the 5,000 Afghan refugees the UK expects to rehome from camps in the next four months, and is around double the number that were originally planned to be taken under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.
Currently most evacuated Afghans are still in quarantine hotels because the country is on the red list, but thousands will soon see their UK isolation come to an end.
A government source confirmed the news, which was first reported by the Telegraph, saying: “It is right we look at every option and every offer of support.”
The UK airlift out of Kabul will end in hours after Britain shut the airport's gates to new arrivals this morning.
Around 1,000 eligible Afghans and British citizens are still at the Afghan capital's airport being processed and will be flown to the UK shortly.
But a Cabinet minister today admitted around 800 to 1,000 Afghans who qualified under ARAP will be left behind, and have to escape by other means.
If they are not killed by the Taliban, they could have to flee across a land border.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News: "We at 4.30am UK time closed the Baron Hotel [where British officials were processing departures], shut the processing centre and the gates were closed at Abbey Gates.
"We will process those people we have brought with us, the 1,000 people approximately inside the airfield now, and we will seek a way to continue to find a few people in the crowds where we can.
"But overall the main processing has now closed and we have a matter of hours."