photography and multimedia journalism association

Jungle

An illegal refugee and immigrant camp has been growing near Calais, France since June, 2015. In less than a year, about 6,000 people are estimated to have moved into the camp. It has been nicknamed the Calais Jungle but residents call it simply the Jungle. Here, refugees and immigrants gather as they attempt to enter the United Kingdom. It is the largest camp of its type in France. Before people began massing in the Jungle, several smaller camps had been scattered in the area.

Each day, hundreds attempt to stow away on lorries, cars or trains travelling through the Port of Calais or the Eurotunnel which connects Great Britain to France.  In addition to razor-wire topped fences and a heavy police presence, the trip can dangerous - sometimes deadly - for those who attempt the 30 mile crossing of the English Channel.

The living conditions are poor, sanitation is bad and most of the camp is without power. At least three fires have burned hundreds of temporary shelters as people use candles for heat and light when the sun sets. However, groups have banded together to build churches, mosques, restaurants, barbershops, stores and nightclubs to help normalize life in the sprawling camp. In addition, volunteers provide two hot meals a day, showers, a library and language classes for the immigrants and refugees.

The onset of winter has made life in the camp even harder and each day, people line up to buy or receive donated winter clothing; others huddle around warm fires. Many build makeshift wooden structures with donated or scavenged materials to move out of crowded caravans and thin tents, which could be ruined by wind and stray fires.

Photographs by Anna Maria Biniecka / TESTIGO

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