Alex Thomson's View

Our chief correspondent roams across the news agenda bringing both light and shade to his topical reports.

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November 26, 2015 No Comments

Tear gas, squalor and scabies – another day of misery in the Jungle

Andrew the trucker shouts a string of obscenities towards the sea of tents on one side of the motorway embankment which is the Jungle.

The windscreen of his articulated truck has been smashed by a rock thrown by those inside the camp, desperate to escape its mud, filth and cold.


He was travelling south. Away from Calais port. But was still a target of the anger and the despair.

All around us a fog of tear gas hangs over the Jungle encampment in the low winter sun.


Around mid afternoon they make their move.

Up the embankment by the camp to the road heading into the port of Calais and the UK.

Pallets are thrown onto the carriageway to bring the trucks down to running speed. Then they try their luck.

Small groups fling themselves onto trucks as they move past, blaring their horns in futility.

We witness a group gingerly climbing  out of the space behind the unit of a truck and onto the trailer as it rolls northward. Hazardous is not the word.

This is the first sequence of the disturbance.

French CRS riot squads belt off round after round of tear gas.

Those around the camp reply with rocks, which means more gas as the police move people off the road, gasping for breath and eyes streaming.

Back to the Jungle where today we were filming a Pakistani medic – himself a migrant – desperately coping with the scabies epidemic now sweeping this awful place.

“I cannot do much,” he says, ” I give cream for he itching but that is all I can do. People live in tents and they spread it. Getting clean clothes is so hard. We can do little.”

Scabies – just the latest reason to get out of this place and risk the riot squads, the gas, and your very life to make it onto a truck and into Britain.

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