Ely people are supporting refugees at Calais in the biggest migration since the Second World War
PUBLISHED: 11:54 01 September 2015 | UPDATED: 14:48 01 September 2015
Men's clothing, sleeping bags, wash kits and tinned food are among items on an appeal wish list being donated by people across Ely who are forging links of support for the Calais refugees.
In just four days a Facebook page set up by local businesswoman Juliet Browse is gathering support for what is believed to be around 5,000 refugees camped out in the northern French port town, with as many as 150 arriving every day.
The page already has 114 members and is gathering pace with essential items for people living in the ‘Jungle’ where conditions at the camp are poor, and authorities are faced with the dilemma of addressing a growing humanitarian crisis without making conditions attractive enough to encourage newcomers.
Juliet, who runs Spoilt Rotten Beads at Haddenham, said: “Touched by the stories of the desperate people stuck in the refugee camp at Calais we have started a local group to collate essential items for the migrants and refugees in Calais.
“We have set up this Go Fund Me page to raise money to fund the cost of hiring a van to transport all the donated items and also to buy more essential items such as toothbrushes, sleeping bags, tents and toiletries.
“We also desperately need offers of storeage space before we take it out in October.”
The wish list is calling for sleeping bags, tents, adult men’s clothing, toothbrushes, soap, toothpaste, shaving foam, tinned fish, rice, books, footballs, and older children’s toys.
A spokesman for the Red Cross said: “More than 5,000 people are believed to have lost their lives attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean in the last 18 months. This makes these waters the most dangerous borders in the world. This should trigger action, commitment and support.
“Last year, the number of people forced to migrate exceeded 50 million the most since the Second World War.
“People will continue to flee desperate situations and inaction by the EU and its member states will only lead to more suffering. It will mean more harrowing tales of exploitation and abuse, culminating in terrifying and deadly journeys like the one across the Mediterranean Sea.
“We must find humane and effective ways of managing it as an international community.”
Donations can be made at Spoilt Rotten Beads, 7 The Green, Haddenham from 9-5pm Monday to Saturday or St Mary’s Church in Ely on Sunday September 6, 13, 20 and October 4 from 11.45-12.1.5
If you are unable to deliver your donations a collection can be arranged within a 10 mile radius of Ely.
For information visit the Facebook page Ely Calais Refugee Action or the GoFundMe page at ElyRefugeeAction.