Over the past few years parishioners have been extraordinarily generous in donation material goods and money to help the plight of refugees in Calais. At present there are approximately 700 in and around Calais. The conditions are appalling.
According to figures from Human Rights Observers (HRO), a non-profit organisation that monitors police evictions in northern France, there were 973 evictions in Calais in 2020 – nearly three a day, and more than double the 452 recorded in 2018. In December alone, 526 tents were seized and 41 arrests were made. The authorities are felling woods round Calais so there is no shelter, and the distribution points for food and wood provided by the charities have been reduced. In cold and relentless wet weather the situation is dire. Aid workers are frequently subject to arrest.
These photos were taken from a video by Lagkadikia Camqu Hama, who lives for periods with migrants and refugees through Europe, recording their lives. This shows a police raid, with employees of a private company employed by local government destroying tents.
There are few points of running water where refugees can wash their hands, and in this time of pandemic the corona virus runs rampant through any encampment. The UK is still seen as the great magnet for refugees and migrants, and many are trying to reach family. Their plight is real – hence their willingness to risk death by drowning and hypothermia by paying traffickers to help them cross the Channel.
You can read more details here: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jan/13/like-torture-calais-police-accused-of-continued-migrant-rights-abuses.
We cannot now have a second collection as there is no Mass. Please can you give generously online at https://www.helloasso.com/associations/l-auberge-des-migrants/formulaires/2/en, or – if this is not possible – through Father Charles at the Presbytery (but don’t ring the bell!).