Police evict hundreds of refugees from Calais
This morning a large-scale police operation took place in the biggest refugee site in Calais under the direction of the new prefect, Louis le Franc. Le Franc is also behind the recent ban on food and drink distributions in the town centre.
French officials rounded up around 800 refugees and forced as many as they could onto buses in one of the largest evictions we have seen this year. Their tents, duvets and sleeping bags have been abandoned and confiscated.
In a statement this morning Le Franc said he wants to make the targeted Virval area, where almost 800 refugees lived, “inaccessible” to people. Local reports say that around 300 people will be taken to places in the Hauts-de-France region, so we expect them to return to Calais relatively quickly. We do not yet know where the remaining 500 are being bussed to.
Once people return to Calais, which they always do, they will have nothing. Nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat, no clothes to wear, no firewood to keep warm. But unlike the many summer evictions, this time people will be coming back to dropping temperatures.
We are putting together food packs, blankets and tarpaulins to distribute to refugees who return this afternoon. We will be driving around the city looking for displaced people, providing hot drinks and a helping hand. But much more support will be required over the coming days, and as we head into winter hundreds of tents will be needed.
We will not be able to provide all these tents without your help. If you can, please contribute at care4calais.org/donate
The local French report on the eviction is available here.