AS the migrant crisis continues to hit the headlines, not least with the recent deaths of 27 Kurdish refugees in the English Channel, one woman from Falmouth has been doing her best to help those in need in the camps in France.

For the last three months, Ruby Harrop has been volunteering with the charity Calais Food Collective in Calais and Dunkirk providing food for people living in terrible conditions there.

In Calais refugees are mainly from Sudan escaping after the military seized control of the country’s transitional government in a coup. According to independent, global think tank ODI "many want to reach the UK because of Sudan’s historical colonial ties with the UK, because of the English language – for many this is the only European language they speak – and because of the presence of family and friends in the UK."


The charity provides food for the refugees

The charity provides food for the refugees


Meanwhile in Dunkirk, refugees are mainly Iraqi Kurd families escaping Kurdistan where, according to the BBC, they are escaping high unemployment, low pay and unpaid salaries, as well as poor public services and widespread corruption linked to patronage.

Ruby, 24, volunteered after she saw the charity on social media asking for volunteers to help with the refugee crisis and has been over in France for three months but has now returned to the UK but she hopes to return.

"It’s pretty horrible out there," she said "I think that it become quite difficult to read the news about Calais and feel powerless and it’s on our doorstep. I felt it was important to go to help."

Following the demolition of the notorious 'jungle' camp in 2016, there are now around 2,000 refugees in Calais and Dunkirk. Ruby says a lot of people live in different bits around the town centre with more camp type places in the suburbs around Calais.


French Police watch as a wall is built round one of the camps

French Police watch as a 'wall' is built round one of the camps


"They live in tents if they have them," she said. "Tarpaulin if they don't. Some people live under bridges. The tents often get confiscated by the police when they evict them.

"I think the policy is they evict every 48 hours but at one point they were evicting people every 36 hours. Quite often they will take peoples’ tents and belongings. It is quite intimidating.

She says there are many reasons why people want to get to the UK, but mostly it is because they have family there. But she says the deaths of 27 Kurds who drowned after their RIB deflated in the English Channel ,will not stop people trying to get the UK.


Migrants watch as their camp is sealed off

Migrants watch as their camp is sealed off


"The deaths haven’t made people change their minds about coming to the UK," she said. "I met someone yesterday who said he’s seen people die but he wasn’t going to change his mind as he still had a dream to get to the UK and having a better life.

She describes France's reaction to the crisis as "evil and cruel" and "completely pointless".

"You can’t go putting up more barbed wire and taking peoples’ tents and tell everybody to move. It doesn’t stop them wanting to go to the UK if they have fled war and God knows what.

"There is a really weird dichotomy between what constitutes a refugee and an economic migrant. They should be able to live wherever they want. Europeans are allowed to do that."

She says the so called "people smugglers" blamed for the current migrant crisis are based at a place called Grande Synthe.

"People willingly go with the people smugglers, if they didn’t go with them they’d find someway else," she said. "The reason people died is because the UK refuses to supply any safe route for asylum which means people take riskier and riskier ways of crossing the channel.

"The sea is really rough, I didn’t realise how scary it looks. The wave height can be really high. It’s really dangerous to cross.

The charity supplies dry food groceries, tins of beans, fish and milk, onions and potatoes to the refugees.

They rely completely on donations from food banks other organisations, although some are pulling out of the area.

She says she is angry at all the recent deaths in the channel which were completely avoidable.

"I think it’s a disgrace that this happened in this part of the world which is supposed to be safe and developed, in one of the un-safest shipping lanes in the world.

"Have some compassion. People have stopped considering refugees to be human beings. Because of the press and the government whipping up hatred.

"I just think it is important that people don’t just believe the lies, people should have more kindness. These are human beings that died. They are not just nameless economic migrants."