The mayor of Calais, Natach Bouchart has decided on the evictions of the two main camps, known as the Syria Camp and Eritrea Camp. Despite these names, these camps are home to members of many different communities. There are over 300 people in the Syrian Camp in front of Salam, and the Eritrean camp has also undergone a massive influx recently, potentially doubling the number of inhabitants in the last weeks. Migrants of all the communities know about the eviction threat.
The three No Borders squats, opened at the end of February, are also facing eviction at the end of May. These three squats are also providing homes for many people, especially since the eviction of the Sudanese Jungle in mid April. The loss of these buildings will only add to the number of people sleeping in the already overcrowded camps.
Numbers are in Calais are at the biggest for a long time, there are reports that around 500 people are eating at Salam everyday at the moment. There are also many unaccompanied minors coming through Calais at the moment and staying in the camps. A lot of pressure is being put on the scarce resources available to those in Calais. There aren’t enough showers, pallet and wood sources, food, clothes or sleeping stuff to go around.
Of course the response of Bouchart is the same as usual: evictions and more police repression. It is the way of the French State and local authorities to keep numbers down. There is a sharp increase of police violence in the zones of passage and in the Afghan jungle. People have complained of being gassed, beaten while trying to cross, many so badly they have to go for hospital treatment. One man was gassed in the eyes and one had a gun pointed to his head. In the Afghan jungle the police go often to spray tents, bedding, food, cooking utensils. Many people are getting arrested. Police violence is escalating massively, only where nobody is watching.
No Borders have very little in the way of tents, blankets, clothes and tarp at the moment. Along with the vestiaire, No Borders are the main distributers of tents and blankets; the failure of the associations to provide even the most basic essentials being incredibly evident. Even without the threat of massive eviction though, we do not have enough of anything left in the garage.
The summer can be a good time to collect these things. If you are involved with any festivals this summer or are going to one or have friends who are, tents and sleeping bags are always desperately needed in Calais. Many tents and sleeping bags are simply abandoned after the festival and if you are able to spend some time collecting them, especially if you have a van, it would be helpful.
For donations of clothes, tents and blankets:
Phone: 0033 645 46 59 86 (from inside France)
Email : email@example.com
For large deliveries please contact the manager of the vestiaire:
Marie Christine Descamps; Phone : 0033 680488477; Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to come spend time in Calais, please also email or get in touch with us by phone to let us know when you are coming or ask any questions you might have.