Asylum seeker describes ‘unbearable’ conditions at Kent military barracks

An asylum seeker living at a military barracks in Kent has said conditions are "unbearable", with 34 people sharing one shower.

There have been reports of suicide attempts at Napier Barracks, near Folkestone, which the Home Office is using to house asylum seekers including people who have crossed the Channel in small boats.

Dozens of residents gathered outside the barbed wire-topped fence on Tuesday chanting "freedom" and waving banners.

Many are on hunger strike and sleeping outside despite the cold nights in protest at conditions in the camp.

Napier Barracks asylum protest
Asylum seekers sleeping outside at Napier Barracks (Care4Calais/PA)

One resident who has been living at Napier Barracks since September complained of a lack of privacy and said they struggle to sleep.

They said: "I am protesting because the conditions here are not good. Thirty-four of us share one shower and one toilet.

"There is no privacy. At night no one can sleep because there is too much noise.

"The situation is unbearable. You cannot settle and there is no peace and quiet."

The resident said they are also worried about coronavirus because of the cramped conditions.

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Napier Barracks used for migrants
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Napier Barracks used for migrants
Welcome To Folkestone About 400 local residents and community groups including Kent Refugee Action Network and Samphire came together outside Napier Barracks to show the people staying there that they are welcome to the town on the 17th of October 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. In September 2020 Napier Barracks a former military camp was transformed into an assessment and dispersal facility for 400 asylum seekers by the Home Office. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Welcome To Folkestone About 400 local residents and community groups including Kent Refugee Action Network and Samphire came together outside Napier Barracks to show the people staying there that they are welcome to the town on the 17th of October 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. In September 2020 Napier Barracks a former military camp was transformed into an assessment and dispersal facility for 400 asylum seekers by the Home Office. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Welcome To Folkestone About 400 local residents and community groups including Kent Refugee Action Network and Samphire came together outside Napier Barracks to show the people staying there that they are welcome to the town on the 17th of October 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. In September 2020 Napier Barracks a former military camp was transformed into an assessment and dispersal facility for 400 asylum seekers by the Home Office. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Welcome To Folkestone About 400 local residents and community groups including Kent Refugee Action Network and Samphire came together outside Napier Barracks to show the people staying there that they are welcome to the town on the 17th of October 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. In September 2020 Napier Barracks a former military camp was transformed into an assessment and dispersal facility for 400 asylum seekers by the Home Office. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Welcome To Folkestone About 400 local residents and community groups including Kent Refugee Action Network and Samphire came together outside Napier Barracks to show the people staying there that they are welcome to the town on the 17th of October 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. In September 2020 Napier Barracks a former military camp was transformed into an assessment and dispersal facility for 400 asylum seekers by the Home Office. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Welcome To Folkestone About 400 local residents and community groups including Kent Refugee Action Network and Samphire came together outside Napier Barracks to show the people staying there that they are welcome to the town on the 17th of October 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. In September 2020 Napier Barracks a former military camp was transformed into an assessment and dispersal facility for 400 asylum seekers by the Home Office. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures via Getty Images)
A small number of Patriots came to disturb the Welcome To Folkestone event from local residents and community groups including Kent Refugee Action Network and Samphire came together outside Napier Barracks to show the people staying there that they are welcome to the town on the 17th of October 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. In September 2020 Napier Barracks a former military camp was transformed into an assessment and dispersal facility for 400 asylum seekers by the Home Office. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Refugees inside the barracks came out into the yard to enjoy the locals Welcome To Folkestone event from local residents and community groups including Kent Refugee Action Network and Samphire came together outside Napier Barracks to show the people staying there that they are welcome to the town on the 17th of October 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. In September 2020 Napier Barracks a former military camp was transformed into an assessment and dispersal facility for 400 asylum seekers by the Home Office. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures via Getty Images)
A group of men, thought to be migrants, sit outside in the sunshine after arriving yesterday night at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent. Migrants will be housed in the military barracks from this week while their asylum claims are processed. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
People thought to be migrants arrive at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats are being housed in the military barracks from this week, while their asylum claims are processed. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Fencing and security preparations take place at Napier Barracks to welcome Asylum seekers at the new assessment and dispersal facility for asylum seekers on 21st September 2020 in Folkestone, Kent, Untied Kingdom. Napier barracks was recently taken over by the UK home office and is part of Shorncliffe military base. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats are being housed in the military barracks from this week, while their asylum claims are processed. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police officers are escorted around Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats are expected to be housed in the military barracks from this week, while their asylum claims are processed. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Napier Barracks in Folkestone Kent, recently taken over by the UK home office to be turned into an assessment and dispersal facility for asylum seekers on the 15th of September 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. Napier barracks was part of Shorncliffe military base, the MOD have sold off large parts of land in recent years for housing development. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In pictures via Getty Images)
Napier Barracks in Folkestone Kent, recently taken over by the UK home office to be turned into an assessment and dispersal facility for asylum seekers on the 15th of September 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. Napier barracks was part of Shorncliffe military base, the MOD have sold off large parts of land in recent years for housing development. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In pictures via Getty Images)
FOLKESTONE, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: A general view of Napier Army Barracks on September 17, 2020 in Folkestone, England. The Home Office is reportedly converting the decommissioned Napier Army Barracks in Folkestone to an assessment centre for asylum seekers arriving across the Channel. This summer has seen an increase in people making the journey in small crafts from France seeking asylum in U.K. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Napier Barracks in Folkestone Kent, recently taken over by the UK home office to be turned into an assessment and dispersal facility for asylum seekers on the 15th of September 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. Napier barracks was part of Shorncliffe military base, the MOD have sold off large parts of land in recent years for housing development. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In pictures via Getty Images)
Napier Barracks in Folkestone Kent, recently taken over by the UK home office to be turned into an assessment and dispersal facility for asylum seekers on the 15th of September 2020 in Folkestone, United Kingdom. Napier barracks was part of Shorncliffe military base, the MOD have sold off large parts of land in recent years for housing development. (photo by Andrew Aitchison / In pictures via Getty Images)
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They added: "It's a military set-up here, it's like being in prison. You can't do anything without someone knowing, everything you do is watched.

"I don't feel safe here, I'm really struggling mentally, the thoughts I'm having are very hard.

"Being here brings up bad memories, particularly at night. I am suffering from nightmares of my memories.

"I'm not getting any sleep, three or four hours, maybe, each night. I am tired."

Napier Barracks is one of two Ministry of Defence sites being used to house asylum seekers.

They were loaned to the Home Office as the department struggled to house the thousands of people who crossed the English Channel in small boats last year.

Napier Barracks was designated to house about 400 asylum seekers, more than any other Home Office "initial accommodation site".

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