The Calais Refugee 'Problem' Has Merely Been Displaced, Not Solved

Migrants look at burning makeshift shelters and tents in the Calais "Jungle" during the October evacuationReuters

Refugees are still in crisis in France in spite of the demolition of the squalid Calais "jungle" camp.

Hundreds are now sleeping on the streets of Paris while there has been a huge rise in numbers at the Grand Synthe camp near Dunkirk.

Kent-based charity Seeking Sanctuary says in its latest update that more aid is needed.

Phil Kerton, who delivered goods gathered by Seeking Sanctuary last month to partners such as Catholic Worker house, Secours Catholique, Calais Community Kitchens and Care4Calais, reports that Grand Synthe has already grown from 500 to 1500 and could soon top 2000 refugees.

Temperatures have dropped as low as seven degrees below zero, prompting a desperate need for tents, including pop-up designs that can be used on pavements, warm hats, gloves and scarves, men's winter clothes in sizes S and M, and new underwear, said the charity.

The Dunkirk camp now now in need of supply and there are also many thousands of refugees in respite centres across France who need essentials.

Calais can act as a hub to supply all of these and any surplus goods can be packed on pallets to be added to vans on their way to refugee camps in Greece, said the charity.

A French border police officer patrols near tents in a muddy field at the Grande-Synthe refugee camp, near Dunkirk, northern FranceReuters

In a blog post for the Caritas Social Action Network, Kearn reports: "Donations and supplies of ingredients are arriving much more slowly now that the 'jungle' has been razed: please people, they are still needed!"

And the same is true at the neighbouring warehouse which last month distributed 21,000 items to people in Dunkirk, Paris and accommodation centres across the country.

He says there are still plenty of riot police hanging around Calais beside strategic roads and on street corners. "They are quick to question anyone who they believe looks like a migrant and demand to see their papers. If there are any problems, then it's straight into a van to be carted off to detention somewhere."

Handing over boxes and bags of donations, he met a volunteer who had just spent a week in Paris.

"He confirmed what I had heard on my three previous calls that day: there are hundreds of people sleeping in the open on the streets of the capital. Informal camps have been cleared in recent months and no more are allowed to develop. The capacity of new 'reception centres' is inadequate, and the maximum permitted stay is only some ten days."

Everyone in Calais is preparing for numbers to increase again, he warns.