What a rollercoaster of a few days.
Firstly we got the confirmation that evictions of the entire Calais Jungle will begin tomorrow. It’s difficult to get anything confirmed around here, and confusion, misinformation and panic is rife…
..but this is definitely happening..
60 buses will leave the camp for the accommodation centres tomorrow morning, seating 3000 people. On Tuesday 45 more will be provided (2400 people), and 40 more on Wednesday (2000). The authorities have said that more will come if needs be…
…However lots of our friends here don’t plan to get on these buses. They’re scared of what lies at the other end. Scared to put their fingerprints down in France, for fear of being deported back to their own countries. Scared of letting go of what they have been striving for for up to two years… their ultimate dream… life in the UK.
The container camps are also being cleared of residents, ready to be used as a processing centre for the unaccompanied minors (FINALLY)…and there has been big progress on this front this weekend too…!
Yesterday the first children WITHOUT DIRECT FAMILY in the UK, were brought here legally. 43 girls who are completely alone in Europe and have been living in this crazy lawless refugee camp / slum… ultimately vulnerable to predatory behaviour. It’s so easy for them to go missing…as they are not officially registered anywhere, no one looks for them.
I was so so happy to hear this news. Finally, finally, the victims of the world’s worst atrocities come to our doorstep, in need of our help, and we’re taking a little step in the right direction.
French Authorities aim to have the camp gone within a week.
It all seems a bit crazily fast, stressful and overwhelming to me. So many people leaving in such a short time, whilst their homes are simultaneously being destroyed. This includes the most vulnerable of groups, disabled, elderly, young and alone, injured and victims of severe trauma. I’m not sure why this couldn’t have happened over the last few months, in a slow and dignified way, moving people first, THEN bulldozing once residents had left….but we will see how it all plays out tomorrow…
Right now the camp feels strange. Still people say hello as I walk past and still they smile from underneath the scarves wrapped round their necks and faces, to protect them from the wind….and the tear gas.
The tear gas clouds are coming in from the circle of flashing blue lights around the entire camp. There’s a feeling of uncertainty, of fear, of desperation, “Jungle finished?”
But still, still I get those little glimmers of hope.