THE JUNGLE, CALAIS
26 – 30 September
I went to Calais on the 26th of September with a team of volunteers and with two vans of aid. The first day we arrived in Calais we distributed some of the aid we brought with us. One volunteer who was a nurse went and volunteered in the medical caravan.
I was shocked and appalled at the conditions in the camp the raw sewage running down the middle of the camp and lack of basic sanitation. The acrid smell of human waste and burning plastic was incredibly strong.
Day 1. We distributed aid and met some of the people living in the camp including a young doctor from Syria who had a wracking cough. We were invited to sit and share tea with them and later found some cough medicine for the doctor. We were also asked if we could help supply shoes as there were several people with only flip flops on. We met and talked to more people including a man with his two young sons. He was horrified that this was where his sons had to live, begging for hand outs.
Day 2. We distributed another full van of sleeping bags, mats, tents and blankets from a van of aid that arrived from Edinburgh. I volunteered that afternoon in the medical caravan bandaging razor wire wounds, cleaning wounds and tending to injuries mainly sustained from people trying to cross the channel. We watched a van with aid drive into camp and quickly get surrounded as they hadn’t organised a proper drop off. As a result, the distribution wasn’t done properly, with people trying to get the aid with no coordination. The people in the van got scared and chucked all the aid out of the van in piles on the ground causing fights and drove quickly through the camp nearly running people over. It was horrendous to watch.
Day 3. I spent the day mainly in the medical caravan doing the same as the day before. There were lots of signs of disease such as scabies, chest infections, and possible cases of hepatitis. Malnourishment was obvious. I helped a cricket star from Afghanistan who had such severe razor wire wounds he would never be able to play again. I distributed and delivered aid to newly arrived refugees such as tents, sleeping bags, clothes pots and food.
Day 4. I went and met with the NGO’S that were there MSF, International Solidarities to find out what help we could give from home. We then went to the warehouse to pick up tents, sleeping bags and other aid, including everything a newly arrived heavily pregnant woman would need after walking for 12 days. We then went to the supermarket to buy things they didn’t have in the warehouse such as women’s pants. We then distributed the collections from the warehouse. We then had dinner with people in the Sudanese area of the camp before going round and saying goodbye to people we had met.