Today has been bad.
Just when you think a situation can’t get any worse, we’ve been inundated with heartbreaking news about the future of the Calais Jungle.
We’re just trying to make sense of it all now…
In short, the ‘official’ camp opened today, and with it comes a plan to clear a huge part of the Jungle.
This is what we know:
The new, Government built camp which opened today, will provide ultimately basic accommodation for up to 1500 refugees. The camp is made up of containers, stacked in rows on top of one another, filled with bunk beds.
We haven’t been inside, but know there will be 12 people per container and from a video we have seen, there looks like less space than a prison cell.
As far as we understand, the containers are only for those seeking asylum in France and can only be entered by scanning your hand. We imagine they will be difficult to fill as not only do they seem more basic that what the refugees have been able to create for themselves, they take away any last scraps of freedom.
It seems the Government realise this too, so they have given organisations on the ground 3 days (including today, 11-01-2016) to move and relocate approximately 2,000 refugees, including over 300 women and 60 children from a large section of the camp due to be bulldozed on Thursday.
The size of the area of the Jungle to be bulldozed has turned out to be much larger than the 100m suggested and will tear down approximately 500 shelters built by volunteers over the last months.
The red line you see in these pictures marks out the area due to be bulldozed (right through the middle of lovingly built shelters, kitchens, homes.)
What was originally thought to be a slow process allowing NGOs to support the humane resettlement of people in the camp has turned into a three-day grace period before the tear gas and bulldozers are called into action.
It is estimated that now, given the ridiculously short timescale, organisations will only be able to support with the relocation of 1 in 10 of those people affected. That leaves 1,800 people, who may well be forced out of their ‘homes’ by bulldozers, with nothing. That means 450 shelters, funded by donations and built by volunteers, will be destroyed with complete disregard. Who knows how many personal belongings, family photographs, important documents will be lost along the way, like they were when bulldozers last took to the camp.
This has all happened the same day that the camp at Dunkirk, which houses around 3,000 people (over 150 children and around a dozen pregnant women) has been opened, for 24 hours only, to allow repairs and replacements to inadequate tents. It still seems police will not allow anything for expansion, or anything to build more suitable shelters, but all volunteers are, as you can imagine, frantic in attempts to get vital aid in whilst also dealing with the Calais updates.
None of us have known what to do, but we have some clear ways in which we can, in a calm and collected manner, help the situation in the camp.
If you have already volunteered in the camp before (theres no time for the normal necessary inductions and training) and can go to Calais in the next week for three days or more, please email Eamonn at: email@example.com
You can buy large tents, sleeping bags and blankets (the three most needed items) and get them delivered directly to the Calais warehouse here:
If you have sleeping bags, large tents (even marquees) or blankets to give, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
These are needed now more than ever. If you can, please donate to the shelter building fund here:
These actions are ruthless, inhumane and in total disregard to our fellow human beings.
Imagine the only place you call home being bulldozed to the ground, when you have already left your beloved home behind.
From one unsafe home to another.
We will be keeping you updated…
Thank you to Oona, Remi, Josie, Lliana, Philli and Mohamed for the information