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Sunday, April 11, 1999 Published at 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK


Holiday park could house refugees

Temporary homes are desperately needed for refugees

A holiday park built to accommodate people watching the eclipse could become a temporary home to 5,000 Kosovan refugees.

Kosovo: Special Report
The Monkey Tree holiday park, near Truro in Cornwall, is preparing to put up people who are set to flock to the area to observe the eclipse in August.

Richard Walker, managing director of the Walker Group which owns the park, said the company had approached the Home Office with the idea of sheltering refugees there.

'Stop-gap solution'

And he said the group's other camping and caravanning sites which could also be used to help ease the refugee crisis.

[ image: Refugees could be housed in caravans]
Refugees could be housed in caravans
He said: "We have been talking to the Home Office and they are considering our idea.

"We have 10,000 acres of camping and caravanning sites across the county, which would provide a good temporary stop-gap solution to the crisis.

"We thought we could get two uses out of the same camps, rather than just the one. The land is there, the facilities are there, and it's a way of doing something towards the awful situation. We are not doing this for publicity or profit."

No decision made

A Home Office spokeswoman could not confirm whether the Walker Group had approached them.

She said: "They may have offered, but the Home Office has not made any decisions yet. We have not made any decisions about where to accommodate refugees, and we have not been asked to take refugees."

The tourist industry in Cornwall, from where the best views of the eclipse will be had, is gearing up for the big event on 11 August. Up to 4 million people are expected to travel to the county to see it.

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