Dunkirk, FRANCE -- As the cold winter wind lashes makeshift tents and families struggle through the deep muddy paths, the IsraAID professional response team met refugees desperate for aid and support.
Refugees in the region of Northern France arrived after not reaching England or other destination countries. The refugees, 80% of whom are Kurdish Iraqis, 20% Syrian, Iranian and Afghans, are stranded in a series of improvised muddy camps, with dwindling resources and increasingly desperate conditions.
Thousands of families struggle to satisfy even their most basic needs, and uncertainty and ambiguity of their current situation only adds to the mental anguish of the horrors they escaped back home.
Heeding the calls for international assistance, IsraAID sent an emergency response team to the hardest hit camps in Calais and Dunkirk, located near the tunnel under the sea to Britain.
IsraAID’s professional team, including psychosocial and trauma specialists, met international organizations and community leaders to understand and address the needs of both the refugees and the long-term staff.
IsraAID has been responding to refugee crises across Europe for the last three years. It is said to be the worst refugee crisis to hit Europe since the Second World War. In 2015 alone, over 1 million refugees arrived in Europe, fleeing violence and atrocities at home.
In 2016, IsraAID remains committed to this humanitarian crisis, and the efforts in Northern France is part of a larger response plan that includes operations in Jordan, Northern Iraq, the shores of Lesvos and camps in the north of Greece and Serbia-Croatia.
IsraAID is also supporting the efforts of the government and civil society with the task of trying to absorb and integrate the refugees in Germany, and cope with the physical and mental scars that come with them from civil conflict and their arduous journey.