Care4Calais helps refugees camping out and says it is in desperate need of money, clothes and tents following the confinement period, when it was one of the few associations that stayed on to help. It is also seeking new volunteers because many have returned home.
The situation in and around Calais & Dunkirk
Clare Moseley, who set up Care4Calais five years ago, said the last two-and-a-half months had been extremely tough: “There are still around 500 people near Calais and 300 near Dunkirk living rough on waste ground. When it started, we were scared because people were living in tents in cramped conditions, the very opposite of social distancing. What became apparent very quickly was that the real impact was not the danger of the virus, but the lack of food and water, medical services and clothes."
“Most charities pulled out, or scaled back their operations, when confinement began and the French government stopped giving out hot meals. One man told me he had been in the same trousers for eight weeks and had sores on his legs."
"We had to concentrate on getting food and water and gave up other services we used to do, such as handing out clothes, giving haircuts or playing games with the children. It was like going back to the terrible conditions that existed when I arrived in 2015 and we were working long hours to keep people alive."
What donations are needed and how to help
“My volunteers have been amazing and brave because we have been working with the risk of the virus. It has been very scary.” Ms Moseley said they had never had to spend so much money and were running funding campaigns in the UK.
“People have been very generous but we need to keep on going. We have always been given tents and sleeping bags left over from the big summer festivals in the UK, but they have all been cancelled. Police are still evicting refugees and destroying tents. I am worried we will not have any to give out next winter. The whole system that had been built up to help collapsed, almost overnight.”
For more details, see care4calais.org.