We went to Calais on Saturday and with your donations we were able to purchase and fill our van with urgently needed provisions for the Refugee Community Kitchen including milk, disposable cups, olive oil, sugar, sea salt and cling film, other refreshments and snacks, plus a large supply of toiletries, hundreds of emergency blankets, hats, scarves, gloves & socks, clothes and other essential rials.
Conditions were harsh, very cold and a strong police presence. There were a handful of portable toilets in two places, with the only access to water via a portable device brought for set periods by a local Calais based homeless shelter.
Police are still taking away any tents or blankets that people who are refugees access and waking them up in the night to confiscate the items. People are sleeping in the open air on muddy uneven ground, with trees as their only shelter.
Most of the people we met were from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Afghanistan and aged between 18 and 24.
If it were not for the Refugee Community Kitchen they would have no hot meals. The kitchen is currently supplying 2000 meals per day. Following a legal challenge by the local authority, the kitchen had to move out of it's space temporarily but is back in place now, bigger and very well organised.
Earlier this month we highlighted the plight of thousands of people displaced by climate change, conflict, poverty and persecution who find themselves stuck in France at the annual Lush Summit in London as part of their human rights programme.
We continue to campaign for refugee and migrant rights and highlight the links between displacement, migration, refugees and climate change.
We, as always, appreciate your support and solidarity and would be grateful if you could share this update and our fundraiser with your networks.
Co-founder & National Chair BARAC UK