While the Lille Administrative Court rejected the request of the Prefecture that sought the destruction of shops and restaurants created by the exiles, the last census of the population of the shantytown by Help Refugees and Auberge des Migrants has just been published (see previous censuses here, here and here).
What first surprising is the magnitude of the increase in a month from 7037 to 9106 people. Including 865 children, of whom 670 are unaccompanied. The largest group is now Sudanese migrants.
Part of the study focused on the social role of the shantytown’s shops and restaurants:
« Our census also surveyed 36 shops and restaurants. On average, each one serves as emergency accommodation for 4 newly arrived people during the night, totalling 252 places to stay every night.
30 people charge their phones in each one every day, totalling 2124 people who can keep in contact with their family on a daily basis.
12 free meals and food items are served daily in each restaurant – this totals 857, includes 200 free meals a day for unaccompanied minors in the Jungle Books Café.
The restaurants and shops are a source of food, a space for the vulnerable, and a community space – somewhere that you could sit and talk over a cup of tea in a safe environment.
Forcibly removing this positive aspect of life in the camp at a time when the number of residents is increasingly so rapidly is seriously affecting our ability to provide even one meal a day for everyone. »