Help Refugees strongly condemns today's announcement by the Calais prefecture to evict and destroy the homes and dignity of over a thousand people by evacuating the Southern part of the 'Jungle' refugee camp. The majority of the families in the Jungle live in the Southern part, many with young children.
The move will once more uproot those who have already had to abandon their homes fleeing war and persecution. The eviction also threatens vital community facilities, built and maintained by many organisations including Help Refugees, residents of the camp and volunteers.
Facilities under threat include the Women and Children’s Centre which services and offers a place of refuge to over 200 women and children, many of whom are vulnerable; the newly built Youth Centre, offering aid, access to medical care and sanitary services, peer to peer support and safety to hundreds of young boys, in particular many who are unaccompanied.
Three mosques, one Orthodox church and three schools in addition to the camp’s only library, Jungle Books and the Good Chance Theatre, which has recently been shortlisted for the Index Freedom of Speech Award are also due to be lost.
The Legal Centre which offers vital asylum advice and the Vaccination Centre, which was instrumental in containing the measles outbreak as well as a potential influenza outbreak will also be destroyed.
In the affected area there are three aid distribution points as well three hot food distribution points, including the Ashram Kitchen, which serve a total of 2000 meals a day.
These spaces offer much-needed respite and comfort for those those living in the incredibly difficult conditions within the camp.
The prefecture claims that only 800 people will be affected, which according to our team on the ground, is only half the actual population of the affected area.
With no major aid organisations overseeing operations in Calais, it is down to a few small charities and grassroots groups like ourselves and our French partner L'Auberge Des Migrants, powered by a volunteer workforce, to sustain and maintain minimum standards of living in the 'Jungle'.
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