Dunkirk refugee camp is hell on earth, in the heart of Europe

Nel comune di Grande-Synthe, nel nord della Francia, migliaia di profughi vivono in condizioni disumane. Al gelo, nel fango. Tra loro centinaia di bambini.

“For the men, the women, and the children who dreamed for a better life in Europe, this is it”. What follows is a series of images portraying silent people wandering in the camp, between tents and shacks at the mercy of rain and wind. They walk in the mud, with plastic bags to cover themselves.

“We don’t believe our eyes”

The American TV channel CNN brought its cameras to what is defined as a swamplike place. “At first glance it’s hard to believe this exists between Britain and France, two of Europe’s wealthiest nations. But it does, and it’s not far from the better-known ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais”. The camp is located in the municipality of Grande-Synthe, in the region of Nord-Pas de Calais-Picardie, France, on the outskirts of the port city of Dunkirk.

It’s a refugee camp where thousands of refugees wait for finding a way to reach their destination: the UK. 30,000 people live in an inhabitable place, they only have 24 showers and 44 toilets available, with water and electricity coming and going.


Among the refugees, 250 children

According to the newspaper Le Monde, mostly Kurdish refugees live in the swamp of Grande-Synthe. “This is not a camp, this is an open dump,” said Delphine Visentin, Médecins Sans Frontières, which provides medical help four times a week together with other doctors. They also bring blankets, boots, food, and try to contain the cases of scabies spreading due to the horrible sanitary conditions people endure.


profughi campo dunkerque
The sanitary conditions in Dunkirk camp are terrible ©Carl Court/Getty Images


“Seven-year-old Mani is one of at least 250 children who live at this refugee camp. He, his parents and his sisters Mali and Manar have been here nine months,” tells CNN. “Theirs is an existence built purely on hope at this stage, because they are in no physical state to try cross into Britain illegally in the dark of night, and the family does not have the money to pay smugglers the $10,000 price tag. They have already paid $30,000 to bring his family from Iraqi Kurdistan to France”. 30,000 dollars to end up living in hell.


Cover photo: a kid in Dunkirk refugee camp ©Carl Court/Getty Images

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