Dismal-aid! Banksy donates Dismaland attraction to shelter Calais migrants
Timber and fixtures from the controversial art exhibition, which was based in Western-super-Mare and generated £20 million (US$30.9 million), have been shipped from Somerset to a new home in Calais to provide shelter for refugees fleeing war-torn Middle Eastern and African states.
Plans for Dismaland Calais were first announced on the park’s website last month, but no fixed date was confirmed.
“All the timber and fixtures from Dismaland are being sent to the ‘jungle’ refugee camp near Calais to build shelters,” it said.
However, over the past two days, an “unrecognizable group of people” have been spotted building shelters in the jungle.
Just before sunset on Thursday, a sign that read ‘Dismal Aid’ was seen being hammered above the structures.
Speaking to Mashable, a regular visitor to the jungle said eight shelters had been built and several are already filled up.
“Families have already moved in. They’re all quite happy – a lot of them are new arrivals,” the woman who chose to remain anonymous said.
“They’re not massive, but they’re warm and dry,” she added.
Responding to rumors that Banksy had been spotted in the jungle, she said: “I have no idea.”
“They [the builders] are doing so much good. They’ve been absolutely wonderful,” she added.
Conditions in the camp have deteriorated, she said.
“The camp has changed so much. It has expanded massively.”
According to a report published by the University of Birmingham last week, conditions in the refugee camps are “significantly contributing to ill-health and injury.”
“The shortcomings in shelter, food and water safety, personal hygiene, sanitation and security were identified as being likely to have detrimental long-term health consequences for the camp’s residents over their life course,” the report said.
Executive Director of Doctors of the World Leigh Daynes said the study exposes the “awful truth” about the Calais refugee crisis.
Nearly 5,000 people displaced from Africa and the Middle East are believed to be camped in and around Calais.
Many of the refugees, who are living in dangerous and unsanitary conditions, have repeatedly tried to cross into Britain. Some have died making the attempt.