Many refugees take the risk to cross the Calais border between France and England- a place that the media is calling a border crisis. New Times talks with one of the Calais Border survivors, Marta Daniel, who spend ten days in the Calais Jungle camp.
Marta Daniel is from Eritrea. She is 30-years-old. Five years ago she stayed 10 days in the Calais Jungle camp. She tried once to reach England but the truck that she and the other refugees had been in was carrying salt to France and not England.
Marta Daniel explains that the smugglers often don’t know where the trucks are going and that she was very surprised:
”I cannot believe that it happened to me. When the truck reached the factory, the back side pulled up. We were ten people in the back truck. All of us moved up side down. A man opened to see what was happening. The truck was in the big factory trying to put salt into a big machine. We started shouting and the truck driver stopped pulling up the back. When he saw us he was so shocked. He couldn’t believe it.”
Marta Daniel explained the truck driver that a smuggler had put them in the back of the truck and that they were trying to reach England: “The driver said that we were doing a crazy thing and that he was about to put the salt to mash in the machine. He told us: “Do you know that I would be in jail the rest of my life if you would have been killed. I’m a father of a child. Please tell the police the truth.” Then we all felt sorry for him. We apologized to him. He called the police. After a while all of us was taken by the police to a prison in Paris. After 24 hours we were released. Some went back to Calais to try again. But not me, I am not going back to Calais again.”
Why did you want to do this dangerous journey?
“First I did not know that it would be that hard. I stayed 10 days in Calais before I saw people being sick and dead and suffer with a lot of problems. That is why I did not want to stay long.”
How do people spent their days in Calais?
“People spend their days in Calais looking for food in the city. Catholic Caritas are serving food and water and it is possible to get a shower. I was really lucky when I was there because one priest allowed me and seven other women to spend our daytime in his house.”
Are there any children in the Calais Jungle camp?
“Yes, children and pregnant women, some women are even being raped in the jungle. Children don’t have enough food and milk, a life is not good at all in the jungle camp.”
Why do so many want to go to England?
“First of all they want to go to England because of the language. The other reason is that in France there are no asylum camps. Because of that people try Calais.”
What do you think from your experience? Which solution would help the refugees in Calais?
“I think France must do something to help asylum seekers. If France open asylum seeker camps no one will try the dangerous journeys. Even England must help asylum seekers to reach safe in England. People suffer from the war and dictator governments. That is why people take the risk to reach the peaceful countries.”
Facts about Calais
Calais is located in the Northern France. It takes one hours and 37 minutes from Paris to Calais by train. Calais connects France and England by a channel tunnel, ferries and a train railway. From Calais to England by ferries it takes 90 minutes. The jungle camp is near to port Calais. There are more than 1000 refugees in the Calais Jungle camp. The housing in the camp is made from plastic and carton. In the jungle 5-7 Peoples sleeps in the night in one small house. Specially in the winter time rain, snow make the life worse. There are people from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Afghanistan etc. All of them are trying the second most dangerous journey. The first is across Italy and Greece to reach Europe.