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Calais and Dunkirk: state of flux


Week Nine

In recent weeks Medecins du Monde has been discussing with Art Refuge UK the changing needs of the camp population as Winter edges in and numbers continue to rise. Having finally handed over its medical work to the French government in the camp, the Medecins du Monde team is currently assessing its psychosocial provision – looking to be more mobile and far reaching into harder to access areas and communities.

Today Anna Kalin and Bobby Lloyd joined one of the outreach teams into the Sudanese and Kurdish areas to signpost people to the new medical base and invite ideas about where psychological support might be physically offered and what form it might take such as a mobile art therapy studio. One man asked for a piano so he can reconnect with home by playing Sudanese music when good news about successful asylum claims is celebrated amongst his friends. He told us that he last played the piano in the Gare du Nord station in Paris while on route to Calais several months ago.

In-depth conversations with new people took place over cups of sweet tea, the sunshine bringing moments of optimism, after days of wind and rain, the finding of asbestos and recent tent fires.

Over the next few weeks we will reach out into the camp as well as continue to connect with people we’ve been seeing week in week out.

A demonstration by refugees and massive police presence in the afternoon prevented access to the camp and we took the opportunity to visit the smaller but equally distressing camp at Dunkirk where 3000 people are struggling to survive in inadequate tents scattered amongst trees and knee deep mud. Here we hope to deliver training for Medecins du Monde volunteers who are asking for skills in working with the growing numbers of vulnerable children and families, many of whom are exhibiting signs of ongoing trauma. This is a place that plunges into darkness at sun down because there is simply no lighting.

Please continue to support this work over the Winter.

With thanks from all at Art Refuge UK.

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