Associations, health, injuries, living conditions and a mega rubbish collection

The Medicins du Monde dispensary in the jungle has been improved and made larger with Medicins Sans Frontiers’ help. The two associations are trying to remedy the huge failure of the French government – there is only one nurse in the Jules-Ferry day centre for three hours per day. Though still insufficient, with so many injuries occurring and so many people living in the jungle, the MdM dispensary is a great help. For serious and life threatening injuries people are taken to hospital by ambulance, straight away. The new PASS clinic at the new hospital is very far and the quality of care is very bad. MdM and MSF are also working at documenting injuries from accidents, razor wire and police, denouncing the catastrophic sanitary situation and

the fact that people are already gravely traumatized, coming from war situations. Concern about the dire conditions in the jungle have now prompted calls for action from the UK’s leading medical union, the British Medical Association (BMA). I think this is very important, and pressure from all these medical associations will have an effect. Personally I think the MdM dispensary in the jungle is a very good initiative, the volunteers who run it are quite amazing and we should look towards co-operation with the associations if possible  in denouncing the violence of the border and the inhumane living conditions in the jungle, like already done in the past, rather than attacking them for not doing enough.  The government is responsible for the situation, not the associations. The Independent wrote quite a good article on Medicins du Monde, in English Doctors of the World, please read it. Only it fails to mention the presence of Medicins Sans Frontiers who are now working to Calais too, with MdM.

There is also a new team of activist medics who are well trained, have got their own caravan and are there every day, for long term. Perhaps other medics could join them. In one day they treated 50 injuries. Yet between them and MdM dispensary, it is still not enough! Also it would be good if people can send medical supplies such as bandages, disinfectants, plasters, pain killers and Maalox, and money to buy them. I started distributing medical supplies to the migrants themselves, some are doctors and many can do first aid, and most injuries happen at night when there is nobody, all dispensaries are closed.
It is the Jules-Ferry centre who is financed by the government, provides sub-standard services and do checks and controls on the migrants. It is the association La vie active who is paid to run the J-F centre, not Salam. La vie active receive money to make one meal per day for 1500 people, it is a government’s decision. They are currently serving 2500 to 3000 meals. Thousands of English and other people who are collecting food and clothes and money to build shelters are doing a vitally important job: nobody would be able to survive in the jungle without their help. It is also amazing to see so much solidarity. According to a survey by The Independent 1 in 4 people in UK have helped refugees in some capacity! after so many years of xenophobic and racist propaganda! The fact that the distributions are often messy depends on the fact that there is no infrastructure in Calais, it is just being built, there was nobody doing distributions in the jungle but two heroic couples of middle aged pensioners who are going there every day to help, bless them, now many English & others are volunteering too and a large warehouse has been rented, 2 km from the jungle. The Belgian people were told not to go there and attempt to do distributions by themselves but did not listen. There is no drainage system nowhere in the jungle, apart from a water pump bought by the volunteers with which they try to remove the flood water, and to say it is discarded clothes who cause the floods is an absurdity. MdM did say from the very beginning that the ground is not suitable to build a camp because of clay under the sand, parts of the camp get flooded every time there is strong rain for that reason. It was a government’s choice to send people to that former dump and leave without anything, the government did not provide a single tent or shelter and it is all done by volunteers and associations with private donations. Despite so many inevitable shortcomings I think they did a great job. My position remains that nobody should be there, the men women and children who sleep in the jungle should be re-housed somewhere decent, with sewers, a decent water system and in smaller places, as it is unthinkable to any rational person but Cazeneuve that some 4000 people of different nationalities who do not know each other can all be dumped together in a bidonville/ghetto. I never met anyone who is happy to be there. The news that police are to go to into the jungle with OFPII are far from reassuring…
by Chiara
Last job MdM and MSF did, with the help of over 100 volunteer from England and other countries, and with the help of many people livng in the jungle: they collected all the rubbish that was an amazing quantity all over the place, tons of it, put it into sacks, but the Town Hall are refusing to take it away.
please contact:
Natacha Bouchart
Mairie de Calais
Place du Soldat Inconnu
62107 CALAIS Cedex
Tel : 03 21 46 62 00 
Fax : 03 21 46 62 09
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