Saturday update from Calais camp – superhuman work of community and volunteers clears the buffer zone

Saturday Evening

We (the joint partnership of Help Refugees & L’Auberge des Migrants) are so thrilled to share the news with you that after working late into the night last night and an early start today, the super human efforts of volunteers and refugees alike mean that the entire ‘buffer zone’ marked out by the sub-prefecture is now cleared of all occupied dwellings. Everyone has been safely moved and re-settled and the entire relocation process has taken place with respect, dignity and co-operation.

We estimate the relocation we’ve overseen has involved the movement of around 25 caravans, 300 tents and 247 shelters – however refugees moved many, many more themselves. Total people safely re-homed is approx 1300, including 280 women and 40 children.

We cannot thank the long term volunteers enough, they have coordinated these efforts and made something which at points last week seem impossible become possible! They are real heroes. And our heartfelt thanks also go out to all the volunteers who came to Calais over the last few days just to help with these relocations. We simply couldn’t have done it without you. A true triumph of good heart and good will.

A special thank you also to the amazing Acted, who have really gone above and beyond this week, and to the volunteers of all the aid agencies and grassroots groups who really jumped in and helped our teams immeasurably with the relocation effort.

Tomorrow, we will move the remaining unoccupied shelters (rescuing them for future use) and will continue building. We got an epic 23 shelters built today and are aiming for a further 11 tomorrow to ensure that everyone who needs it has a roof over their heads. (Total shelters built since the eviction notice currently stands at 70 – hopefully 81 by close of play tomorrow.) In the current icy conditions, these shelters are at least affording some basic protection from the elements. The build team have been phenomenal in making this all possible.

New people continue to arrive in camp, up to 50 and more in Dunkirk, all need shelter, warmth, food and clothing. If you would like to contribute to our building fund, you can do so here:

If you would like to send warm bedding, clothing or tents direct to Calais you can buy them here: or donate funds via the button in the sidebar.


We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!