Saturday, April 30, 2016

'They are falling apart': the fate of lone children in Calais' refugee camp - the guardian

A typical day for the group of 10- to 13-year-olds who live in the Calaisrefugee camp without their parents begins sometime around four o’clock in the afternoon, when they wake up.

There is nowhere on site to take a shower, and the wooden shacks and caravans where they live in groups of two or three have no water, so they make their way to a small wooden hut that serves free rice and beans.

“They are falling apart. We’re watching a deterioration of their mental health. They can be tearful, they aren’t sleeping, they have nightmares. They aren’t coping well,” says Liz Clegg, a volunteer from Devon who, in the absence of help from any mainstream children’s charities, has taken responsibility for a group of between 20 and 25 boys.

In the wake of Monday’s defeat of a Lords amendment that proposed bringing 3,000 lone child refugees into the UK, MPs will be asked to consider a new version demanding that Britain resettle an unspecified number of unaccompanied refugee children  currently living elsewhere in Europe. As the fate of child refugees is discussed in parliament, volunteers looking after the youngest in Calais are dismayed that politicians in the UK have been so slow to recognise that they need urgent help.

A survey by the British voluntary organisationHelp Refugees at the beginning of April found 294 unaccompanied minors in Calais, the youngest of whom is eight. Most of the 10- to 13-year-olds are from Afghanistan and Syria. Spend an afternoon in the camp, and you meet dozens of them. - Read More
'They are falling apart': the fate of lone children in Calais' refugee camp


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