I wanted to take a moment to share my daily newsfeed with you. I’m following or in touch with the AMAZING people working tirelessly in Calais right now. So, I get to see the real news of what is happening on the ground and not what the mainstream media like to interpret as the events. I hope that you will be able to see the same urgency that I can and why I work so hard to raise this money – why I annoy you with e-mails about donations, cake sales and auctions. Winter is coming – it is clear the people in power are not going to help as soon as they need to or are required too. The work on the ground is being done by volunteers – people like you and me – they hope to make a difference in someone else’s life. HOPE – it means a lot to someone that you care about them … Please help with donations or visit our FB page and buy some art!
20th October 2015
Fears for migrants in France as winter comes to Calais – By David Courbet October 18, 2015 1:49 AM
Nighttime temperatures have dropped to around five degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) in the “New Jungle” camp, located next to the Calais ring road, and will keep falling in the coming months.
The sound of hammers echoes through the camp’s winding slum-like alleys as migrants try to reinforce crude shelters made of wood and salvaged material against the creeping cold.
“I have nothing to insulate it with,” says Abdulilah, an Afghan in his fifties who is building a shack. “I’ll wear an extra sweater provided by the organisations”.
The changing weather and uncertainty surrounding a new crisis centre announced by the government this summer has alarmed the area’s humanitarian organisations.
“We trudge through the mud,” said Francois Guennoc, a camp volunteer with the aid group L’Auberge des Migrants. “There are places where water pools and it gets very difficult.”
“We are buffeted by the wind, the rain, and the cold. It’s even worse than the previous ‘jungles’,” he added.
Since September, illegal crossings to England from the port or the Eurotunnel — they were up to 150 per day in August — have slowed amid tighter security.
But migrants and refugees keep coming and, predictably, the “New Jungle” has swelled.
The number of residents is now estimated to hover between 4,000 and 6,000 people, up from 2,500 in early June.
“We are on the brink of collapse,” said Jean-Francois Corty, head of the French division of Doctors Without Borders. “The social welfare system is inadequate and so are the delays to process asylum applications”.
“It is unacceptable for a country, the sixth biggest world economic power, to support that,” he added.
Another volunteer, from the SALAM charity organisation who preferred to stay anonymous, went so far as to invoke a “concentration camp”.
S Louise – Volunteer Calais
So as the fog of exhaustion has lifted from 27 hours up on an aid convoy to Calais I wanted to share with you all my own personal experience.
The ‘jungle’ is grim, its wet, muddy and squalid. There are tents as far as the eye can see and make shift shacks which have a variety of purposes, some are churches, mosques, first aid, and small restaurants where they club together food from the aid parcels to cook and share together. Some sit together in the evenings to share their food. Everyone is there for a common purpose and they support each other.There are a few stand pipes of water but I believe it’s not for drinking it still needs to be boiled down but people que a take turns without incident.
The camp is on a flood plain so is often very wet and flooded. There is row after row of tents, big and small many damaged with tarp helping keep them somewhat water tight. We are up to our ankles in mud the majority of the time and with wellies it’s manageable just about to walk about. But many of the people I saw were wearing flipflops some wear odd shoes and one young boy of around 10 wearing a flip-flop on one foot and and ill fitting trainer on the other.
There are many women and children there, more than I had expected. The first person I met in the camp was a young woman called Mimi. She was 6 months pregnant. She tapped on our van window desperate for drinking water. She told me how she fled Syria after her brothers and mother were killed by ISIS and she left with her son and husband to find safety. Somewhere in Sudan she ended up separated from them. She has no idea where they are or if she will ever find them again. She walked here across many countries wearing flip-flops and just the clothes on her back. She has been there 3 months and hopes to come to England because we are ‘kind people’ who can help her find work. She was so kind and even worried about me getting wet as it was raining hard. She kept fussing about my hood covering my hair telling me I would get wet and cold. I cried, gave her my shoes, a jacket some water and a hug. She told me how she will most likely give birth in the camp, she won’t get much if any support medically. I will never forget her and pray she makes it to safety very soon.
12th October 2015 – 23 hours ago – A Giuliano
This is me helping a baby and their father get to a drier place after a long night of heavy rain, long blackouts AND ALMOST TOTAL LACK OF MEDICAL AID AND EFFECTIVE USAGE OF RESOURCES FROM LOCAL AUTHORITIES (E.G. pOLICE – small P absolutely intended!) in Preševo.
SOME CHILDREN ALMOST DROWNED in tents while their parents were desperately trying to seek for help from the police, and afterwards, when these children were developing hypothermia, there were ABSOLUTELY NO DOCTORS to take care of them, and the police (controlling the entrance to the registration camp where doctors are available) KICKED OUT the volunteers who were bringing half naked, trembling and purple-lipped children to the only medical facility available (at the registration camp) because “stay in the line and queue like everyone else”.
The ONLY medical aid outside the registration camp is Humedica, consisting of 3 doctors who work for 4 ridiculous hours a day or so – NOT KIDDING. Furthermore, the registration center decided to close between 3am and 7am, creating a huge line of several hundreds of people left waiting either in the mud or in the water, sometimes LITERALLY up to their knees!
Somehow I feel like everybody, ESPECIALLY THE EU, are expecting us, activists and volunteers, to take care of situations THEY should be solving instead of always acting at the very last minute only because they can no longer ignore the problem in front of their faces. THIS IS A SHAME.
14 hours ago – S Amin
I stepped off the mini bus as I entered the Calais camp knows as the Jungle.
A young Iraqi boy caught my eye, he was walking in this camp that was so unfit for human life. I imagined my own daughter in his place, what would I have done if my daughter was in his place?
I approached his father, an engineer from Iraq, I asked him how he was, what he wanted. He replied “I just want roof for my boy, and food”
Words I have never heard before from a fellow human, how can I hear these words when I have lived a life of relative comfort. But to hear these words made me realise how truly tragic it is for a father to feel so helpless that he doesn’t have the basic necessities to feed his child.
He was once an engineer, today he finds himself in an alien camp… What crime did he commit but to live in a land that has become war ravaged. That was his only crime…. A crime I say…a crime.
2 hours ago – A Thompson
Is there any way to support some of the young people in the camp more individually? I can’t stop thinking about a boy we have befriended on both our visits now. He’s only 14 and there on his own and it breaks my heart to think of him trying to get on the trains every night. If there was a way I would happily bring him over and support him, financially and emotionally but given that’s probably not possible, is there any way to help individuals while they are there?
BBC Magazine – By Eloise Dicker
Syrians leaving their homes for the safety of Europe often rely on people smugglers to help them reach their destination. But it’s impossible to know who to trust and things can go wrong. One woman ended up seeing a man, whose real name she didn’t even know, walk off with her one-year-old daughter.
Zizit knew she had to leave Syria when she became a target for snipers and a bullet hit her car.
She had taken a job as a doctor in a hospital in Damascus where an Islamic militant group approached her and demanded that she go and work for them. When she refused, the death threats started.
“They tried to kill me twice,” she says. Afraid for her one-year-old daughter, Maya, Zizit decided she had no choice but to leave. “I was not happy to leave Syria, I love my country. I left for my baby, not for myself.”
Zizit and her brother Ghassan took Maya to Turkey. The first smuggler they met promised to take them to Greece over land for $13,500 – they paid up front and waited for him to collect them from a hotel. But after a few days they realised he wasn’t coming back.
They then turned to another smuggler who sold them a place on a small inflatable dinghy. After a traumatic journey in the middle of a storm they reached Greece – their boat bursting when it was dashed against the rocks on arrival. Read more about Zizit’s harrowing story here