Humanitarian honeymoon: Newlyweds head to Calais to distribute food, supplies to refugees
While most newlyweds dream of sinking their toes in the sand on their honeymoon, one couple has chosen a unique spot for their post-wedding getaway. Using funds raised online, the two set out to provide food for migrants in the French port city of Calais.
The humanitarian mission is part of London2Calais, an online campaign started by London newlyweds Syed Bokhari and Mona Dohle.
Trading the traditional honeymoon trip for a more meaningful one, the two set out for Calais, where thousands of migrants and refugees are housed in camps as they aim to reach the United Kingdom.
Armed with 400 supply packages, which included food, clothes, and other essential supplies, the newlyweds distributed the aid to those in need – but said it wasn't nearly enough.
“The charity that we bring here will never be enough,” Bokhari told RT. The group's website said there were at least 100 people waiting in line when the food ran out.
The honeymooners also provided a generator to power a school in a camp known as "The Jungle."
Dohle said she was motivated to assist the refugees because “all of them come from very war-torn countries, so all of them are in desperate need for help.”
The two originally asked for just £500, but managed to raise around £7,000 in the first round of donations. The campaign is now gathering donations for a convoy, which will depart for Calais on October 3.
“What started off as just myself and my husband has now become a strong group of people that are planning to go regularly to Calais and provide supplies," Dohle said.
Over 3,000 migrants – mainly from Syria, Eritrea, and Sudan – are estimated to be staying in makeshift camps around Calais, hoping to cross into the UK. Many attempt to board trains and trucks heading for Britain through the tunnel or on car ferries.
'Listen for migrants'
Hundreds of refugees poured onto the tracks of the high-speed railway linking Paris to London overnight on Tuesday, leaving thousands of Eurostar passengers stranded inside trains for hours, many sitting in the dark after French rail operator SNCF was forced to shut down the power supply.
The refugees entered the tracks around Calais-Frethun station, forcing SNCF to halt services near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, Reuters reported.
Passengers in one train were asked to listen for any sounds of migrants climbing onto the carriage roofs. A helicopter with a searchlight circled the train as guards walked the tracks looking for migrants, though none were apparently spotted.
According to a spokeswoman for Eurotunnel, tightened security around the Calais port and the Channel Tunnel entrance have left migrants looking for new entry points into the UK.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said France will start legal proceedings against all those who are arrested during intrusion attempts. "Our target is to reduce the number of intrusions to zero," Cazeneuve said on Radio Europe 1.
The minister said that nine people have died trying to make the crossing this year.