Calais update: Ground conditions worse than ever
The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that conditions on the ground in Calais have been worse than ever before.
Since the French lockdown was announced on 16 March, we have distributed over 1,500 food parcels across Calais and Dunkirk. Our reduced team has worked hard to purchase, pack an distribute to all four sites in Calais and to Dunkirk as well.
There were no clothes distributions for five weeks and we saw people more dirty, itchy and threadbare than ever – in torn and filthy trousers and broken shoes. So last week we added packs of underwear, socks and teeshirts to our food distributions to provide a clean base layer, and this week we are building jogging bottoms into our distributions as well.
The strain on our small team has been great, but the strain on the refugees is higher. They face great uncertainty and fear. Basic services like phone charging are now much reduced; unbelievably, police clearances are worse than ever, and we are hearing disturbing reports of increased police brutality.
We cannot comprehend why the clearances are continuing. The refugees cannot leave due to the French travel ban, and there cannot be anything more pointless and cruel than to evict someone who cannot leave.
Please help us to support these highly vulnerable people now. The stakes are high but we can’t leave. They need us more than ever.
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