Hypothermia in the jungle & squat raid in town

In the middle of the night a man from Afghanistan had to be taken to hospital, he was going in and out of consciousness and showing signs of hypothermia. The ambulance arrived but were very hostile once they saw it who it was for, and as they left threatened his friends living in the jungle they will call the police.

Once at the hospital his temperature rose up to 42 degrees – an extremely dangerous and near fatal level in which a person can be comatosed, suffer brain damage or die.

This person had been sleeping in the BCMO, the ‘cold weather shelter’ which had been open for a few days during the snow, but once it is above -5 degrees in the night the shelter closes. A few days before the shelter closed again and people had to go back to sleeping in the jungles and squats even though it is still freezing cold, and supplies of blankets are constantly low. But it seems so long as people are just about alive the council feel they can turf them back out on the street, even when they are sick.

And there are a lot of people who are sick constantly at the moment – from chest infections, flu, allergies, exhaustion and injuries. In weather conditions like this, on top of the lack of food, lack of sleep, stress, the freezing cold, wet, wind and snow is making people very ill and more exhausted. Several people have been hospitalised over the last months related to sicknesses compounded by the cold and exhaustion.

The new hospital and PASS clinic is very far out of town and difficult for people to get to, especially if you are sick and have no money. So a lot of people do not go. The CGT (Confédération générale du travail) trade union have been holding demonstrations outside, blockading the road with burning tyres, demanding low cost health care.

At the hospital, for emergencies, a lot of the staff have been understanding of people’s situation, but there are no translators. And they are giving prescriptions for people to buy medicine from pharmacies in town, when a person can get the medication for free from the PASS clinic next door! Also people are being released in the night/early hours, without knowing where they are or able to get back into town… a long journey for people who are ill with no money.

Squat raid : in the afternoon a new squat was raided during the day whilst people were holding a workshop. A new crew of PAF, about 7 or 8, entered the building through the window and ID controlled people inside. Everyone had papers, or was under age. There was no arrests.