Kent-based charity Seeking Sanctuary have released an update on the situation in Calais following a visit this week.
In his first trip to Calais since the destruction of the ‘Jungle’ camp, Phil Kerton of Seeking Sanctuary (CSAN member) delivered goods from a variety donors to partner associations Catholic Worker house, Secours Catholique, Calais Community Kitchens and Care4Calais.
Reports from these organisations told of numbers in the Dunkirk camp at Grande Synthe swelling to over 1,500 – this is set to approach 2,000 as new arrivals appear.
Hundreds of asylum seekers are sleeping in the open on Paris streets. The charities reported a general feeling that these people will be kept out of sight until after the Presidential elections. Police on the Calais streets questioning anyone who looks like an undocumented migrant and taking them away if their suspicions prove true.
The charities are building up stocks for the expected re-appearance of those dispersed from Calais. A four-week respite period in the dispersal centres has ended, and there is huge uncertainty about what will now happen to those who do not apply for asylum in France. Volunteers have heard from a number who have become frustrated and left – including children.
Temperatures have dropped as low as seven degrees below zero, prompting a “desperate need” for tents, including pop-up designs that can be used on pavements, warm hats, gloves and scarves, men’s winter clothes in sizes S and M, and new underwear.”
To read Phil’s account in full, please see his blog post for CSAN.