Diary of an eviction

As the Calais ‘Jungle’ was evicted and cleared at the end of October, Refugee Community Kitchen along with Calais Kitchens and Ashram Kitchen continued providing as much food and assistance as we could….here are the daily updates that Steve Bedlam posted to Facebook during those dark and difficult days.

Day 1 of the eviction of the Calais camp 24.10.16
RCK teams are in the camp still serving hot food.
All seems to be going to plan and people are leaving on the buses provided..

Lets hope it remains calm and people find a warm place awaiting them..

Day 2 of Calais eviction 25.10.16

Residents of the camps are registering to go to the COA. All peaceful so far..
Food is still going out and cold food parcels are being given to the people leaving to get on buses..

So far the system in place is working..

Day 3 of eviction of the Calais camp 26.10.16

Today has not started so well. Over night we were updated on various fires in the camp. Some of the infrastructure has been burnt down. RCK + Calais Kitchens teams were in the camp at 4am to assess the situation and to take hot drinks to those affected by these night fires. Unable to say how they started but we think it’s a sign of the place coming to an end and people feeling they have nothing lose again.. We will be in there with food all day today as we adapt our day to day operations to suit the new needs.

We will be focusing around the queuing system for registration as people were queuing for up to 6 hours yesterday with no food or water..

Day 4 : Calais Camp eviction 27.10.16

So yesterday was not as smooth as the others. Fires burnt throughout the camp taking with it most of the infrastructure and many homes. Not all the people got on to the remaining buses and were eventually let back in to the camp after the fires had gone down.

Way too many kids didn’t make it out on to the buses or to the safe accomodation of the containers. The volunteer teams (not the authoroties) on the ground were working all night keeping the vunerable as safe and as warm as they could. Taking bedding and shelter where allowed by the authoroties. RCK + CK teams were in the camp till very late still serving food and making sure there was water for anyone who needed it..

Our teams are heading in now with hot chai and breakfast for those that are awake..

We do not know what today holds for them. There are no more buses coming (news as of last night from the authorities). So what the remaining 2000+ people are supposed to be doing we’re not sure. We are preparing for a day that could turn bad as the police will surely want everyone off so the clearance can start.
Clearly the authorities estimate of 6000 was wrong and the census of Help Refufees / L’Auberge were correct. We can only hope that they realise the best way to help these people who have been through so much is to get more buses and more housing..

Let’s see..

Please keep supporting our teams on the ground and spreading the messages wide for all to see..


Day 5. Eviction of Calais camp 28.10.16

So last night RCK+CK+Ashram teams joined forces again and were in the camp till 11pm serving food, supplying sleeping bags and blankets to the remaining 800-1000 people . MOSTLY kids and young men. Driving around the now flat and still burning camps was very strange but seeing young men and kids with nowhere to sleep other than the school and containers (where permitted) was even harder.. We went back in to help Sofinee Harun (Kitchen in Calais) out with her kitchen as a huge fire blazed behind. Sofinee and Jenal were one of the first people we met in the camp one year ago and they are the last kitchen to leave the camp. Such wonderful amazing people hardcore to the end.

So we are now seeing new reality for RCK + CK. Yesterday camp volunteers started to hear from refugees who have left on the buses to centers of accomodation. One group of 60 men are now sleeping in a gymnasium in a village without cooking facilities and without food. Also we have been informed about others living close to Calais in a house but have no food supplies so we have sent some to them and other groups – all that is needed to cook for themselves as well as hot food to eat..

RCK take-away service..

The Calais jungle may be almost over but the crisis continues so please keep spreading the word that we are still here and we still need your support.

I have seen that people want our donation details. I haven’t put them on here on purpose as these up dates are not about raising money but keeping you informed.

But for those that want to donate you can do so here.. www.refugeecommunitykitchen.com. Thank you

Day 5 part 2.. 28.10.16

So today has been one of the busiest days for food distribution we have had in a year of being here. We all thought that as the numbers went down so would the demand. However it’s actually the opposite as we are now faced with 1600 people needing 3 meals a day who over the past year have had infrastructure built to help them maintain some kind of life. This is now gone. No church/mosque. No school. No youth centre. No kitchens. No womens/childrens centres. No WATER. No Toilets. There is now only food and blanket distribution. The Refugee Community Kitchen/Calais Kitchens and Ashram Kitchen teams have been on the camp since 7am and will be there till 10pm serving food, water and emotional support to the people who didn’t make the buses. The official registration team left on Thursday. The mostly children and young men left behind are scared and uninformed as to what awaits them AGAIN……

And every night more new comers arrive to the bleak burnt out Camp that they have heard about…..

Please spread the word that THIS IS FAR FROM OVER…

Day 6… 29.10.16

We would like to reply to this #BBC statement with a picture.
“At least 80 migrants including children have spent the night in shelters that remain in the now otherwise deserted Calais “Jungle” camp.”

Yesterday was one of the busiest days for food we have had in the 11 months we have been serving food so these “80” people must be seriously hungry…

We cooked….
140kg rice
500kg curry
50kg salad
We also gave away 450 Litres of bottled water and 400ltrs in cups..
80 people huh……

Day 6 part 2… 29.10.16

This is so messed up. 1500+ CHILDREN living in containers with NO official organisations or charities or government bodies there. Only a big police/security presence. Tonight our teams (RCK/CK/Ashram ) finished at 10pm. Another 15-hour day trying to serve food and answer questions that we simply do not know the answers too. Questions like “When are the buses coming to take us to UK?”, “Where do I get phone credit to call my family?” “Have you got shoes?”, “I need a blanket”, “Who can I talk to about my family in UK?”. This has gone way beyond cruel. This is just outright neglect and I’m not sure how much longer it can go on. It’s dangerous on many levels…

Please write to all agencies to make them aware of this situation – MSF, Save the children, Amnesty, Unicef, Red Cross, Teresa May, Jeremy Corbyn  and every one in Parliament……….

Day 7 & 8…. See day 6 30.10.16
No change… still no one here other than the volunteers groups doing the work of governments…

Day 9.. 1.11.16

We have just had news that all the children in the containers will be taken on buses tomorrow morning to CAOs across France.
There will also be representatives from the UK on each bus to work with the children who are registered to enter the UK who will be identified and processed. We don’t know how long it will be before the UK take the children.

Also the women and children in the Jules Ferry compound will be emptied by Friday. They will also be going to CAOs..

This is great news for those still in the camp and we hope that this is the start of a better life for these children..

We would like to thank all of you who have shared posts and contacted agencies and MPs  – we are sure this has made a difference…

We at RCK will still be here in Calais and Dunkirk as there is still a need as it’s still not over. People will continue to head here and people will still need us so please continue with your efforts of support.

Further updates coming soon…..

Day 10.. 2.11.16

So far so good. After a night of uncertainty and some small troubles the buses have started to be loaded with children and the UK officials are here and going with them.

No food being distributed today as we did not want to be a distraction for the kids so our teams are there just to say goodbye.

Further updates to come as the day goes on..

Day 10. Part two 2.11.16

Thirty-three buses now fully loaded and all children have phones and chargers to make sure they can stay in touch with families and aid agencies.

Well done to the amazing teams at L’Auberge Des Migrants, Help Refugees, RYS and other volunteer teams who have been working 24hrs a day on the non-food aspect of this crisis…
I’m sure that without you it would have been a lot worse for the refugees over this period…

At this rate we think all the children will be gone by the end of the day…