The Channel Tunnel was open for travel in 1994, and by 1999 began to emerge migrant settlements across the city of Calais, France. Attributable to the immigrants’ intentions to cross the tunnel and reach the United Kingdom seeking for asylum, the city witnessed an exponential growth of refugees across the years – mostly from Africa and Middle-East – motivated by the pursuit of a better life or fleeing a country in the midst of armed conflict.

Due to the civil war in Syria, during year 2015, dramatically increased the migrants’ presence in Calais, prompting the local government to group them in what was known as a disused landfill of approximate 34 acres, a zone with limited drinking-water access, lacking waste & sewage management, among others. It currently has a population of about 6000 immigrants, although the arrival of new displaced is ongoing.

In order to address this social matter, the SAMU Foundation – alongside NGO Bridge2Life and the SAMU Emergency School, in collaboration with the Caixa Foundation and Menarini Responsable – deploy an emergency medical team to attend the health necessities of the refugee community. The SAMU team was composed by the Head of Mission: Borja Gonzalez de Escalada Alvarez; Medical corps: Blanca Micheo McPherson and Oscar Hugo Martín del Barco; Nursing corps: Ignacio Guerrero Rodríguez and Andrés Rodríguez Holst; and journalist Cristina Diaz Aguilar.

Our team mobilized in two vehicles to Calais, where they met with members of Bridge2Life and participated in multiple activities, primarily health (in Calais, Paris and Dunkerque) and logistics (construction of a dining room, distribution of clothes, food, etc.).

Mission Technical Info:

  • Mission Name: Calais 2015
  • Partner Organizations: Bridge2, La Caixa y Menarini
  • Country: France
  • Departure Date: 8-Nov-2015
  • Arrival Date: 18-Nov-2015
  • Populations Assisted: Refugiados Sirios, afganos, iraníes, iraquíes y kurdos mayoritariamente, entre otros.
  • Number of deployments: 1
  • Number of SAMU Participants: 6
  • Total Number of Participants: 21
  • Assistances Number: 474
    • Assistances on Base: 361
    • Field Assistances: 113

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