A MAN has told of the “terrified and shaken” state of 34 people rescued from a shipping container at Tilbury Docks.
Daljeet Singh Flora visited the families as members of the Sikh community gathered food and clothing to help those pulled from the container on Saturday.
Mr Flora is the accountant at the Grays Gurdwara, in Maidstone Road, and has been liaising with the authorities to try to help those involved.
The temple’s members have been inundated with offers of help for the families, who are from Kabul in Afghanistan and are believed to have spent 18 hours inside the container as the boat made its way from Zeebrugge, in Belgium, to Tilbury.
Mr Flora said: “I went over to visit them on Sunday and they have been left very shaken. Can you imagine being stuck in a container for that amount of time?
“This had nothing to do with race, religion or creed. On a humanitarian level they needed our help and this is what we provided.
"They were really traumatised and it is one of the most difficult things to pick up your entire life with small children and leave.
"They are in a desperate situation. Some of them are so scared.”
The 34 people were found inside the container along with Meet Singh Kapoor, 40, who was found dead. They were only discovered when staff at the docks heard banging and screaming from the crate.
It has emerged 15 children – including a baby boy of 15 months – were inside the container. It is believed the group of 15 Sikh families were fleeing religious persecution in Afghanistan.
Gurdev Singh Kang, secretary at the Grays Gurdwara, said: “These people are not here to claim our benefits and use the NHS – they are in the most terrible condition having fled horrible circumstances and are just desperate for help.”
Mr Kang added leaders from other faiths had also come forward to help.
He said: “We’ve had calls from priests and would like to thank everybody who has offered their help and prayers."