Calais: hundreds of migrants remain a year after razing of camp


Site now barren land with nowhere to shelter but Help Refugees charity has been forbidden from giving out tents. Hundreds of refugees and migrants are believed to be in Calais and the surrounding area, a year after the refugee camp there was razed.

It is thought between 700 and 800 people are gathered in France’s northern port town, which continues to attract those hoping to start a new life in the UK.

The number could be as high as 2,000 for northern France, Annie Gavrilescu, who works for the charity Help Refugees, said. She also said the charity was not allowed to give out any tents, in case people set up a new camp.

Footage from what came to be known as the “Jungle” shows it now as barren land, and those desperately seeking shelter are forced to take cover in the thicket.

Gavrilescu said: “While the French authorities are trying to prevent a camp, all we want to do is provide people with some form of shelter and protection. Unfortunately last winter, a few people in Greece and Serbia have died just of the cold and it is a distinct possibility that it could happen in northern France as well.”

Speaking in Calais, Fawad from Afghanistan said: “We sleep in jungles and there are a lot of problems from police. They take our everything; tents, sleeping bags, clothes.” He said migrants were always on the run from police, fearing being beaten if caught.

Fawad, who only gave his first name, said: “We are afraid for winter. We will see what will happen because we don’t have a place to sleep and something to wear. And every day there is rain. It makes a lot of problems for us. That is why we are afraid of winter.”

Hamad, who is also from Afghanistan, said the blankets they had offered little protection from the rain, and the freezing cold nights.

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