The refugee camp in Calais has been nicknamed the jungle where the migrants from all over the Middle East such as Syria & Afghanistan as well as from across North Africa. People fleeing the terror of ISIS, Islamic Extremism and civil war. The migrants hope to find asylum in the UK, and regularly tempt death and severe injury by trying to cross the channel by hiding in trucks and entering the channel tunnel.
Although refugees are spread over a wide area, officially the Calais Refugee Camp is situated at a former landfill site, three miles from the town centre of Calais. This is the area nicknamed the Jungle.
The Jungle with the help of volunteers across UK & Europe has had showers, schools, wifi and even small shops and places of worship erected, sound wonderful but reality is that this is a camp tents and makeshift shelters sitting on top of a landfill. With thousands of people crammed into a small area. A shanty town much like seen in the likes of the poorest areas of India.
Conditions in other camps around Calais and Dunkirk are even worse, mostly without washing facilities or sanitation. The French have been left with a tough choice, help improve conditions and address the humanitarian needs and attract more refugees or leave them to it and allow the refugees to suffer.
The camp started out with a Red Cross reception centre called Sangattte which was opened near the port of Calais in 1999, but very quickly became over crowded, which lead to the original jungle being established in the woods around the Port after Sangatte was closed in late 2002.
In April 2009 a raid on a migrant camp by the French authorities lead to the arrest of 190 and the authorities also bulldozed the tents, but by July 2009 a new camp had been erected. There has been reported over 6000 estimated refugees now living in the Jungle,
The refugees living in the refugee camps in Calais are mostly young men, with about 62% of the population being men with an average age of 33 coming from countries including Afghanistan, Africa and Sudan. Most of them do not speak the French language, and are attempting to enter the British labour market to work illegally rather than claim asylum in France.
People trafficking has become big business with refugees sometimes paying thousands of £s to the smugglers to get them to Calais, Italy, and Greece, often risking their lives in tiny boats crossing from the likes of North Africa to the shores of Europe. Once in the camps the refugees can’t rest easy from danger as French authorities have often taken a heavy had with riot police using tear gas and batons against the refugees. The women also have an added risk of danger from a volatile mix of desperate young men of various nationalities.
Source information comes from:
- Human Relief Foundation
- The Telegraph
- The Times