Calais update: Reports of forced evictions at main campsite
Yesterday the French police performed a harsh forced eviction at the main site in Calais. More than 80 people were forced to board buses and taken to temporary shelters in the Pas de Calais region. Some of them have already returned to the camp.
The feedback we have heard regarding these government-run shelters is mixed. While some provide protection from the spread of Covid, we have heard reports of a gymnasium with 50 people sleeping in one room, and indeed one person being taken to hospital from this room after showing severe symptoms. No one else was tested.
We understand some people did not want to board the buses and 12 people were arrested. We have also been told that further forced evictions are planned. We find it incomprehensible that this is continuing during a pubic health emergency when people’s health and wellbeing should be the first priority.
Local authorities have reported 170 tents being taken or destroyed as part of the operation; this creates a serious problem on the ground.
Usually the UK festival season is our main source of tents and sleeping bags; this is what sees us through the winter in Calais. This year there will be no festivals and we are very worried.
Today we distributed sleeping bags and tarpaulins but, coming out of winter, already our stock of tents is very low.
Two friends I spoke to today told me of sleeping outside huddled next to a fire last night and waking in the early hours when the fire burnt out.
If you have bought a tent for a festival or camping holiday that will no longer take place, consider donating it by dropping it off at one of our designated locations. Click here to view the drop-off map.
If you have any free time due to lockdown or summer holidays, consider a fundraiser for tents. Find out how to start a fundraiser by clicking here.
If you can donate to buy tents, visit our Donations page here.