Today has been a very difficult day for everyone in the camps. We have been working hard to respond to an ever-changing situation, and to support the refugees as best we can.
We have been told we need to help 2,000 people – including 300 women and 60 kids – move by Wednesday night. We are hoping this is a scare tactic and we’ll be granted an extension, but either way this is is a very daunting task and we are concerned that it will only be possible to move about 1/10 of those people. We understand that tents and shelters left behind will be bulldozed – and the hard work of the refugees and our volunteers will be lost.
We urgently need volunteers who have worked with us before at the Calais warehouse. We also need tents, sleeping bags and blankets to replace those that will be lost when the camp is cleared.
Below are the updates we have shared today.
January 11th 16:55 – Call To Action
Our teams are now asking for HELP.
VOLUNTEERS… if you have already volunteered in the past with Help Refugees / L’Auberge Des Migrants or have experience on the ground, we need your help please. If you can go to Calais the next week, and can spend 3 days or more there, please email Eamonn Maguire on mailto:email@example.com – It’s important you have volunteered with us already in the past please, as our teams will have no time to do the necessary inductions/ training that we normally would do.DONATIONS are needed now more than ever. Please donate to the shelter building fund here https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/shelter-building-calais
Large tents are what will be needed the most, then sleeping bags and blankets.
Update:Thanks to all of you who helped since the urgent appeal we posted on Friday. Tom, Isabel and myself have spent the last 24 hours driving round London picking up supplies. We are currently making our way back to Calais to put your donations to good use. Your donations always help and make the greatest of difference to those who need it. Please continue to support us by either clicking the donate now button at the top of the page or by following this link www.leisurefayre.com and ordering the supplies we so desperately need.
Posted by Help Refugees on Sunday, 10 January 2016
January 11th 16:30 – Ongoing Negotiations
Acted and L’Auberge des Migrants are continuing their ongoing negotiations with authorities in regards to the news of the Calais camp move this morning (see previous posts below).
Our latest understanding is that if we show a concerted and visible effort to start relocating people now then an extension to the 3 day window may be granted, although it is not yet clear exactly what the parameters are on this.
In the meantime our teams on the ground continue to liaise closely with the community leaders within the refugee camp to ensure the residents are made fully aware of the plans, and of their options.
There will be a follow up report from the community leaders to give us the feedback of their communities to this latest news at 7pm tonight.
For the meantime it’s clear that we will need many more supplies imminently, so please do continue to buy the goods by clicking here to purchase sleeping bags, tents and blankets from www.leisurefayre.com – They are desperately needed and will be automatically delivered to Calais/ Dunkirk.
We will have an update regarding volunteers wishing to help shortly.
January 11th 14:50 – Joint Statement From Support Groups Due by End of Day
There will be a united message sent out from the major organisations on the ground (including Acted, L’Auberge des Migrants, Help Refugees and others) by the end of the day.
January 11th 14:26 Negotiations underway
Negotiations are happening as we speak in Calais and we are very much hoping there will be a sensible resolution to the planned move announced today. We will let you know as soon as we hear back.
So….the advice from the ground is “please don’t panic or do anything just yet.” We may need your help, so if you could try to be ready if we put the call out that would be the most important thing at this point. If you have sleeping bags, tents (especially large ones) and time off in the next few days then please do stand by for further notice.
But at this point we ask that you please don’t just drive down to Calais- as a huge influx of people may cause more chaos and distress unnecessarily.
We will have further information for you shortly, but at this point the most important thing is for the camp to remain calm. If people are contacting you asking you how they can help please share this information. Thank you all so much.
January 11th 13:10 – French Government To Bulldoze Calais Camp – Imminently!
BREAKING NEWS: Our Calais teams have just found out we have only three days (including today – 11/01/2016) to move and relocate approximately 2,000 refugees, including over 300 women and 60 kids, as the French government bulldoze a significant section (nearly 1/3) of the entire Calais camp, a much larger area than the associations on the ground have been previously told about. The area proposed includes approx. 500 shelters we, and other aid groups have built. Our volunteers are simultaneously dealing with the fact that today we are allowed a one-off 24 hour period to get aid to the 3,000 people in Dunkirk.
Given this timescale we estimate that will now only be able to move 1 in 10 people/ tents/ shelters in time, the rest will be destroyed, a huge waste of resources, supplies, and time, not to say how traumatising this will be for already vulnerable people.
Philli Boyle, Help Refugees’ Calais manager says:
“We are devastated to find out we have less than three days to relocate the residents, having been promised much longer by the authorities. Our focus will be on safely moving the women and children, but we will do everything we can to help as many of the people as possible in the limited time we have. We had really hoped to be able to move people (many of whom are already so traumatised by their experiences in the countries they have fled from) in a way that would maintain as much dignity as possible, and reduce stress, however this has now been taken out of our hands given the incredibly limited time we now have.”
Any press who would like further details please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org. The featured image is part of a series coming soon by Miss Magpie Fashion Spy, who is visiting the refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk.
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!