THE families who were discovered in the shipping container at the Port of Tilbury on Saturday are “doing much better”, according to a man who acted as a translator for police.
Kamaljit Singh Matharu, a member of Grays Gurdwara, has been assisting the immigrants communicate with authorities since they were found, having arrived on a ship from Zeebrugge.
Some of the families, who are now claiming asylum in the United Kingdom, are now recovering at a residential centre in East Dulwich.
Mr Matharu, who visited the families on Monday, said: “They are quite well and are doing much better. They have checked into the centre in East Dulwich and are being very well looked after.
“They are now hoping to get into more of a normal routine.
“Some of them prefer Indian food, so we are trying to arrange for some of the women to gain access to the local Gurdwara where they can prepare food.”
It is believed the 35 immigrants were fleeing religious persecution in Afghanistan.
Accountant Daljeet Singh Flora, from Grays Gurdwara in Maidstone Road, has met some of the families.
He said: “The situation for the Sikh community in Afghanistan is very tricky. It is difficult for them to practise their faith.
“You have people pulling off their turbans and scarves, people can’t even cremate their loved ones after they pass away.
“It is very troubling and they are desperate to find a better future.”
Secretary of the Gurdwara, Gurdev Singh Kang, added: “These people will not leave behind their homes just for the benefits system.”
A man from Northern Ireland was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of manslaughter and facilitating illegal entry into the UK.
He is being transferred to Essex today [Wednesday] for questioning.
*Twenty people, believed to be from Kashmir and Eritrea, were treated for dehydration after being found in a lorry near Bristol on Tuesday.
The lorry was heading for Devon.