26 Nov 2015

Tear gas, squalor and scabies – another day of misery in the Jungle

Andrew the trucker shouts a string of obscenities towards the sea of tents on one side of the motorway embankment which is the Jungle.

The windscreen of his articulated truck has been smashed by a rock thrown by those inside the camp, desperate to escape its mud, filth and cold.


He was travelling south. Away from Calais port. But was still a target of the anger and the despair.

All around us a fog of tear gas hangs over the Jungle encampment in the low winter sun.


Around mid afternoon they make their move.

Up the embankment by the camp to the road heading into the port of Calais and the UK.

Pallets are thrown onto the carriageway to bring the trucks down to running speed. Then they try their luck.

Small groups fling themselves onto trucks as they move past, blaring their horns in futility.

We witness a group gingerly climbing  out of the space behind the unit of a truck and onto the trailer as it rolls northward. Hazardous is not the word.

This is the first sequence of the disturbance.

French CRS riot squads belt off round after round of tear gas.

Those around the camp reply with rocks, which means more gas as the police move people off the road, gasping for breath and eyes streaming.

Back to the Jungle where today we were filming a Pakistani medic – himself a migrant – desperately coping with the scabies epidemic now sweeping this awful place.

“I cannot do much,” he says, ” I give cream for he itching but that is all I can do. People live in tents and they spread it. Getting clean clothes is so hard. We can do little.”

Scabies – just the latest reason to get out of this place and risk the riot squads, the gas, and your very life to make it onto a truck and into Britain.

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6 reader comments

  1. Sarah says:

    I can’t imagine what these folks are going through, no one deserves this. There needs to be a way to get them out of there quickly and placed in empty apartments, shared housing, garages churches, shelters.. somewhere or anywhere safe, warm and with food. I have seen only one website that allows people to register offering rooms in their homes or housing for the refugees. this is just horrible, breaks my heart, I wish I was stinking rich, I’d buy them all plane tickets and houses to start fresh away from their nightmares.( where is all the help from Hollywood or politicians or athletes? very sad.) prayers for all of the refugees. I’m thankful that Alex is getting this information out to the world. Always, excellent reporting. Wishing God’s best blessings to you all. Sarah- New Jersey, US

  2. more silent majority says:

    such well behaved people would be an asset to any country. i’m sure they would benefit the country they came from who is mounring the loss of their rock throwing tantrums, therefore we should send them back home where they can live in the conditions that they are more comfortable in, and work for a living rather than scamming the UK taxpayer.

    a recent economic migrant arrival here in the UK last nite on tv was bemoaning the pitiful 500 pounds a week he gets in dole money and the lack of room in his 5 bedroom house provided for free. he bemoaned the nasty state cutting his wives jobseekers allowance just because she refused to look for work. and his daughters was cut just because she couldn’t keep a job because she doesn’t speak english and felt uncomfortable, so she quit. he’s arranging for his mum and dad and a couple of aunts and uncles to come join them now he’s figured out how to apply for benefits.

    when i was working before i retired i was making less than that while paying the taxes that enable this largess. now that i am retired and live on my state pension, i get a LOT less.

  3. Raymond Pyke says:

    Why should we let these people into our country. There are rules about migration and
    seeking asylum at place of entry they can then seek permission to UK. Please sort chaff from cheese let the honest and useful people through but the criminals, the con men, the benefit seekers ??. Photograph and finger print them then send them back to where they came from. or seek asylum at point of entry.

  4. John Haslam says:

    Why can’t we set up an official refugee transit camp in Calais, deal with asylum applications there, give people a legal method of entry and hopefully end this human tragedy once and for all ? But I guess that the Daily Mail, Sun, etc. wouldn’t approve, so
    really it’s best to leave things as they are…

  5. Norman Norman says:

    Since immigrants (legal or otherwise) already have the opportunity to make a life for themselves in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania ,Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or Liechtenstein, should we not respect their decision to live in squalor and idleness on the dunes outside Calais?

  6. Naomi Brandel says:

    Alex Thomson,
    In response to the current situation in the Jungle and the imminent evictions-
    I am replying here as I cannot find a more recent blog to respond to.
    I appreciate your reporting from Calais,however I believe Thursday’s ( 25/2/16) interview with the actor who’d been in The Jungle didn’t do it. He was well meaning but inarticulate and didn’t have a grasp of the facts. That’s what’s needed if these children – particularly the 400 or so who are unaccompanied – are to be protected. The UK must act immediately to fast forward their entry to join their families who are resident here. Some of them have permission to come in to the UK but there are still hold ups with Immigration. Here are two links that are very informative – people who have worked in the camps: Laura Griffiths at http://write.refugees-welcome.org.uk/mp/write
    http://www.aidboxconvoy.co.uk. Aid Box Convoy send people to Dinkirk refugee camp from Bristol every week. They would be worth interviewing. Many have put their lives on hold to work with the refugees over a period of months.
    According to the footage, it is striking how patient and healthy and good humoured these refugees seem to be after having been through so much. The idea that if we help them we’re opening the door to thousands of others is despicable – it’s based on fear. This is a humanitarian crisis and the UK must act now.

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