Hellish conditions on the ground are making life utterly horrendous for refugees in Dunkirk right now. With winter fast closing in, we’re seriously concerned for their welfare.
The camp that was established after the brutal eviction of the old site in September has grown a lot in the last six weeks, with many women and children among the new arrivals. We think there are now about 900-1000 people living here, either in warehouses, or in tents pitched close together on the concrete surrounding them.
You can see from this photograph, taken this weekend by one of our volunteers, just how bad conditions are becoming. The whole site is overcrowded, with lots of rubbish and standing water on the muddy ground. The health risks are serious and increasing. And to make it even worse, sporadic smaller evictions mean people live in a state of constant anxiety about losing their tents and possessions.
Our volunteers are supporting an increased number of people, but the space we’re allowed is not large enough to allow everyone in need to safely access our services. This is even more distressing because many of the newcomers are in desperate need of clothing and bedding.
These dreadful conditions are clearly visible from the main road and the large supermarket nearby which, if previous events are anything to go by, is likely to increase public hostility towards the refugees. It is noticeable that, either by design or accident, one effect of the recent evictions has been to drive refugees into camps closer to residential areas, where they are more visible to locals.
These really are conditions that no human beings should be forced to live in. no wonder people are growing desperate and taking the risk of trying to cross to the UK by small boats.
We’re all determined that refugees there will not suffer or go hungry if we can help it, and our diligent volunteers will do all they can to support people there. We will need lots of warm winter coats; if you have one you can send, or can donate the money to buy one, please visit Care4Calais.org/coats4calais/