Hell is a teargassed scrubland crawling with infectious disease. Hell is toddlers scavenging to survive. Hell is a refugee camp in Calais.
Each time I visit, I learn more about the diabolical conditions that human beings are forced to endure in the camp. Having fled the horrors of war, environmental disaster and destitution, refugees there have sacrificed everything to find safety. Instead, they die slowly in a hopeless wasteland. Muddied tents provide the only shelter from the freezing cold. Children beg for water contaminated by faeces, as rats scurry into people’s makeshift homes.
The human shrieks of a rodent-sighting are nothing compared to the wails of infants longing for their mother’s embrace. One of the main sites of separation is Calais itself. Since the destruction of the “jungle” in 2016, the French police have enforced a policy of “zero-fixation points” to prevent refugees settling elsewhere. Evictions are carried out daily; tents, blankets, identity papers, mobile phones, clothes and medicines are confiscated or destroyed….