The Calais Crisis: RT documentary meets refugees at dead end on Britain’s doorstep (VIDEO)
Calais has become synonymous in the global media with the vast tent-city that has grown around its port as a result of the European Union’s failure to agree on a humanitarian plan for the displaced.
RT’s Polly Boiko visited the camps to tell the human story behind the thousands of men, women, and children who have fled war and poverty for a better life in Britain.
The documentary is a tale of two cities – the old port of Calais and the new refugee community that has grown within its boundaries.
Volunteer worker Maya of L’Auberge des migrants tells Boiko the residents are adapting to their new wasteland home out of necessity, not choice.
“You know it’s starting to be a city. There’s more restaurants, there’s more stores. You look here and you never think you’re in France,” she says.
“Nobody wants to stay here. But you know, while they’re here, they might as well live in a decent place.”
While some French citizens like Maya welcome their new neighbors, others have grown weary.
“They just damaged my house,” a local man tells Boiko. “Just there, they were shouting so loudly so I ran. Now I’m scared for my life. My daughter’s 18 [years old] and can’t go outside. The house is locked up, the shutters drawn.”
Tensions in the camp are rife, as refugees struggle to meet basic needs such as fresh water and warmth.
Boiko tells the story of refugees such as Ishmael, a university educated engineer from Damascus, Syria, who fled his war-torn country after his mother urged him to leave.
“We are coming from Syria to Turkey, to Greece, to Macedonia, Serbia, Budapest, Vienna, then to here. We want to finish now,” he says.
“We have here engineering, we have teacher. We have all kinds of people. They have good education. They are leaving Syria because they problem there, they have war. They don’t want to die there.”
“I miss my bed. I miss my mother. I miss everything, I miss my country.”