Last updated 25 October 2016
On Monday 24 October, the French Government began dismantling the Calais 'jungle', home to more than 6,000 people. Adults and families are to go to Centres d’Accueil et d’Orientation all over France. Unaccompanied minors will not be sent to the centres but will stay in Calais for screening. MSF is concerned by the plight of the refugees who will continue to desperately attempt to travel to England.
MSF was running a youth centre in the 'jungle' with the British organisation Refugee Youth Service, and teams offered mental health support, legal information and educational activities.
The refugee camp known as ‘La Linière’ in Grande-Synthe, on the outskirts of Dunkirk, northern France, is to close its doors to new arrivals, according to local authorities. They plan to reduce its capacity to 300 people by the end of the year, most likely leading to its complete closure in early 2017. If the plan goes ahead, thousands of refugees and migrants will be made vulnerable to destitution and violence as winter approaches.
In a communication dated 5 October 2016 sent to the company which manages security at La Linière camp, the Dunkirk sub-prefecture gave instructions that no new arrivals should be admitted to the camp, including "minors, families, pregnant women, the elderly and people in situations of difficulty".
La Linière camp was opened in early March 2016 to shelter some 1,500 refugees and migrants – including a number of babies and children – who had been living in squalid conditions, surrounded by mud, rubbish and rats, in an unofficial camp nearby. The new camp, constructed by the city council and MSF at a cost of €4 million, provided more humane living conditions.
In July 2016, shortly after the government had announced that it would fund the camp, a decision was made to deny entry to new adults travelling alone – a decision which was denounced by MSF.
Activities 2015 International Activity Report
In September 2015, MSF started providing medical care to refugees and migrants living in the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais.
In early 2016, the ‘Jungle’ camp was home to up to 6,000 refugees and migrants. The living conditions were dire, despite the efforts of non-profit organisations and local charitable initiatives. Calais is near the Channel Tunnel, a railway link between France and the UK. For several years, people have been trying to reach the UK on trucks via the tunnel.
With Médecins du Monde, MSF started providing medical services in the camp in September. The team then built an outpatient department to improve working conditions and patient care, as the site is prone to flooding. Between 100 and 120 people were seen every day and benefited from medical consultations, nursing care and physiotherapy. The team also undertook water and sanitation activities, built 66 chemical toilets and set up a system for collecting and managing rubbish. As people were living in small tents unsuitable for rainy and wintry weather, MSF built 80 wooden shelters, each accommodating four to five people.
Around 2,500 mainly Kurdish refugees and migrants were living in appalling conditions at a site in Grande-Synthe, north of Calais, near the port of Dunkirk. MSF set up 22 latrines and two water points, and provided medical consultations three days a week. MSF also decided, with the support of the local council, to build a new site offering better shelter and living conditions. In November and December, over 2,100 medical consultations were carried out in this area – the majority for respiratory tract infections and scabies, predominantly caused by poor hygiene and sanitation.
Year MSF first worked in the country: 1987.
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