Refugees stranded in Calais

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By Ayo Lana.

Calais is home to the port industry in France and it is also home to 100’s of refugees who have made the gruelling journey to get to the Britain but are stuck in Calais.

On a recent trip to Calais, I was part of a film crew who went to France for 4 days and interviewed a number of refugees who had come from all different parts of the Middle East and they told us about their struggles so far.

We spoke to people from Iraq, Pakistan and Syria and the main reason for them running away from their country was because they feared for their lives, this fear was also evident during the interviews as they asked us to not film any of their faces because their families were still back in their home countries and didn’t want them to suffer any repercussions because they had escaped.

The living conditions were also an eye opener, these people were living on dirty ground, in make shift tents which had no adequate padding, the tents were not waterproof and while we there, it rained quite a lot and they let us inside their tents where we could see the conditions and water was leaking from the roof. There wasn’t an acceptable toilet system, they had two portable toilets which were kept in unsanitary conditions but we asked them how it is to live here and they described it as “it isn’t life, it would be good if we died”.

They then talked about how they’re always “trying”, which is a term for trying to find a way into Britain. They pay smugglers the small am,ount of money that they have, they then get in the back of a van and hope that they get across and they are also in fear of their lives as if the truck driver discovers them in the back, as they are unaware, they may kill them as they don’t want to be fined for carrying an illegal immigrant. We mainly visited a base which was located right next to the port and this was arguably the best spot for “trying”.

We were able to get a interview with a English speaking Pakistani, a teacher who fled due to threats from the Taliban to stop teaching girls in a girls school, he talked to us about why ended up in Calais.

Link to interview: https://soundcloud.com/ayo-lana/interview-with-middle-east

Link to timeline of events: http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/819161

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