Law of the Jungle: Calais Citizens Living on the Brink

© REUTERS / Pascal RossignolAerial view of a makeshift camp as containers (front) are put into place to house migrants living in what is known as the "Jungle", a sprawling camp in Calais, France, August 14, 2016
Aerial view of a makeshift camp as containers (front) are put into place to house migrants living in what is known as the Jungle, a sprawling camp in Calais, France, August 14, 2016 - Sputnik International
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The residents of Calais are growing more and more concerned about the "Jungle," the largest slum in Europe. In an interview with Sputnik, they described their daily lives, which become increasingly complex.

A Sputnik correspondent visited residential areas on Gravelines Road, closest to the "Jungle" and the circular road leading to the port and to the A16 motorway leading to the Eurotunnel. One of the residents who works as a fireman, Dominique, suspects that migrants make regular night-time visits to his neighbor's land with a greenhouse, if one judges by the state of the hedge.

"If you walk along Gravelines Road, you'll see that most residents are building higher outer walls to fence themselves from the others. In fact, many migrants walk around here. It restrains us and makes us scared for our children and grandchildren. You never know what can happen…"

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Indeed, the majority of the houses along the road had high walls, which seem to have been built recently. A lot of citizens feel as insecure as ever, and neighboring with the "Jungle" has become a moral ordeal for them. Colette is one of them:

"When we moved here twelve or fifteen years ago, we felt safe. And now you can't walk outside in the evening anymore. I used to walk the dog behind the house — there was a passage. And now you just can't get out even with the dog: it is dirty and unsanitary everywhere and you never feel safe. Some migrants are good people, but there are also bad ones, we should not forget about it."

"So, in the evening, we always check if everything is tightly locked and switch on an alarm system," she added.

© REUTERS / Charles PlatiauMigrants stand under makeshift shelters in the northern area of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, September 6, 2016
Migrants stand under makeshift shelters in the northern area of the camp called the Jungle in Calais, France, September 6, 2016 - Sputnik International
Migrants stand under makeshift shelters in the northern area of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, September 6, 2016

 

Franck, who lives in this area and works as a docker at the Calais port, has the same opinion. He feels the influence of the "Jungle" both at home and at work:

"It is like a public thoroughfare here, every night something happens, every night we hear the police siren. It is real urban warfare! Our neighbor's son was once attacked on the road: they threw a piece of wood at him, the boy nearly died."

© REUTERS / Charles PlatiauMigrants pass by a road sign as they leave the northern area of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, September 7, 2016
Migrants pass by a road sign as they leave the northern area of the camp called the Jungle in Calais, France, September 7, 2016 - Sputnik International
Migrants pass by a road sign as they leave the northern area of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, September 7, 2016

If Franck is not afraid for himself — after all he's a docker — he is worried about his family:

"I have three daughters. They used to catch a bus on Gravelines Road. Now they can't do that. They are groped and molested, when they are getting on it. Recently my daughter was forced to run and wait out in a bakery, because migrants surrounded her when she got off the bus."

Marie lives in a house at the intersection of Gravelines Road and Mouettes Street, where you can often meet migrants from "The Jungle", who want to cross the bridge over the circular road of the port. All her neighbors know that she sleeps with one eye open:

"Some neighbors keep animals: rabbits, goats, chickens — they are often stolen. Every day, people constantly feel fear at the subconscious level. At night, when you hear the noise, you look out the window. Once they threatened us that they would cut our throats because we looked at them."

© REUTERS / Charles PlatiauHarbor workers, truck drivers, farmers, storekeepers and residents attend a protest demonstration on the motorway against the migrant situation in Calais, France, September 5, 2016
Harbor workers, truck drivers, farmers, storekeepers and residents attend a protest demonstration on the motorway against the migrant situation in Calais, France, September 5, 2016 - Sputnik International
Harbor workers, truck drivers, farmers, storekeepers and residents attend a protest demonstration on the motorway against the migrant situation in Calais, France, September 5, 2016

Freddy lives a little further away and works at the hypermarket in Calais, located on the border with Coquelles, not far from the Eurotunnel Terminal and the A16 motorway:

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"I work at night in the Calais Auchan till half pat midnight. They're everywhere. Every night, from midnight until six in the morning, migrants come out on the A16. They break the windows and side-view mirrors of the cars of my colleagues, who also come to work at night. This is really stressful."

Farmer Olivier Butez lives near Fort Vert, a commune bordering Calais, and has also suffered hardships since the refugee camp was set up:

"The first to suffer are our crops. I had about half a hectare of flax — they torn it out and threw it away in a brook and onto the motorway. Then they went to the fields with potatoes, which they dug to eat or just for fun."

"We are afraid, especially for our children. I have young kids who can no longer walk freely on the territory or nearby, because there are hundreds of migrants there," Olivier said.

© REUTERS / Charles PlatiauMigrants walk in the northern area of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, September 6, 2016
Migrants walk in the northern area of the camp called the Jungle in Calais, France, September 6, 2016 - Sputnik International
Migrants walk in the northern area of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, September 6, 2016

The farmer also relayed another serious incident:

"About two weeks ago, at six o'clock in the morning, my brother and I were working with cattle and heard a noise. There was a man covered in blood with a large wound on his forehead — he'd been hit with an axe. Fifty meters further we found a dead body and two more wounded people. This has never happened before. The situation is deteriorating."

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