HUFFINGTON POST

Life Inside The 'Jungle' Migrant Camp In Calais

A defiant display of dignity by a forgotten and maligned people.
Gamal and Sabry from Sudan build a wooden structure at a make shift camp near the port of Calais on July 31, 2015. 
Gamal and Sabry from Sudan build a wooden structure at a make shift camp near the port of Calais on July 31, 2015. 

The recent surge in migrants trying to reach England via the Eurotunnel has focused attention on the thousands of people camped out on the northern shores of France -- a humanitarian crisis that has been hiding in plain sight for years.

An estimated 3,000 people live in a makeshift encampment in Calais, dubbed the "Jungle" for its squalid conditions and the chaos that reigns over life there. The area has seen many waves of people fleeing war and repression, from Kosovans in the 1990s to Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Eritreans and Sudanese of more recent crises. They share one goal: to reach the shores of Britain, where many have relatives, or speak the language, or simply dream of a life of dignity and safety.  

Photographer Rob Stothard, who documented life in the Jungle over the past week for Getty Images, told TIME that many residents find it hard to fathom why Britain is so determined not to let them in. "They wonder why they’re able to get this far -- crossing all of Europe -- and not be able to make the final step," he said. "They get so far and they’re still so far away in the end."

For some, the journey ends in tragedy. A Sudanese man was crushed to death by a truck last week. Others have been killed when they fell off trains, jumped onto moving vehicles, and, according to one investigation, even made a desperate attempt to swim the English Channel.

As they wait for any chance to reach England, the residents of the Jungle contend with a lack of sanitation, medical care, regular food or security -- conditions that the U.N. refugee agency's Vincent Cochetel described last year as "totally unacceptable and ... not consistent with the kind of values that a democratic society should have."

Yet, many have tried to establish havens of normality, a defiant display of dignity by a forgotten and maligned people. Entrepreneurial types have set up small shops selling telephone SIM cards, water, soap, razors or drinks, Reuters reported. There is a makeshift mosque, and a tented church. Residents can learn basic French from local volunteers in a hut built from tree branches and named the "Secular School of Dune Way" (or L'Ecole laique du Chemin des dunes) by its young Nigerian founder, Zimako Jones.

"Black is not a crime, I'm proud to be black," reads a sign at the camp in one of Stothard's photos, an apparent rejoinder to the racism that too often enters into British discussions of the migrant crisis. 

Take a tour of the Jungle and meet its resilient residents in Stothard's powerful photos. 

The sun sets behind a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
The sun sets behind a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
A man cuts another man's hair in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
A man cuts another man's hair in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
A Sudanese man is seen in a piece of broken mirror whilst having his hair cut in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on
A Sudanese man is seen in a piece of broken mirror whilst having his hair cut in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
An Ethiopian man clears an area of shrubbery to make space for a tent in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2,
An Ethiopian man clears an area of shrubbery to make space for a tent in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015.  
A sign reading 'Black is not a crime, I'm proud to be black' is seen by the side of a track behind a makeshift camp near the
A sign reading 'Black is not a crime, I'm proud to be black' is seen by the side of a track behind a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
Fikrte from Ethiopia poses for a portrait in Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
Fikrte from Ethiopia poses for a portrait in Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
Kasam from the Darfur region of Sudan poses for a portrait in Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
Kasam from the Darfur region of Sudan poses for a portrait in Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
A woman cooks on a fire in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
A woman cooks on a fire in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
A man walks to collect water in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 1, 2015. 
A man walks to collect water in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 1, 2015. 
A pair of trousers are laid out to dry on bushes in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on July 31, 2015.
A pair of trousers are laid out to dry on bushes in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on July 31, 2015.
Men play football in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
Men play football in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
A man uses a generator to charge a mobile phone in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais, France, on Aug. 1, 2015.
A man uses a generator to charge a mobile phone in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais, France, on Aug. 1, 2015.
Sudanese men play cards in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais, Aug. 1, 2015. 
Sudanese men play cards in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais, Aug. 1, 2015. 
Graffiti reading 'France is dog life, England good life' is seen on a wall close to a makeshift camp near the port of Calais
Graffiti reading 'France is dog life, England good life' is seen on a wall close to a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 1, 2015. 
A man prays in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 1, 2015. 
A man prays in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 1, 2015. 
Muher from Sudan adds a dividing wall outside his tent in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 1, 2015.
Muher from Sudan adds a dividing wall outside his tent in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 1, 2015.
A woman enters the site of a church in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on July 31, 2015.
A woman enters the site of a church in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on July 31, 2015.
A man prays during an Orthodox service for Ethiopian and Eritrean worshippers at a church in a makeshift camp near the port o
A man prays during an Orthodox service for Ethiopian and Eritrean worshippers at a church in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015.
Kibrom Kasta leads an Orthodox service for Ethiopian and Eritrean worshippers at a church in a makeshift camp near the port o
Kibrom Kasta leads an Orthodox service for Ethiopian and Eritrean worshippers at a church in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015.
A compass rests on a prayer mat in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
A compass rests on a prayer mat in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015. 
A man sings during an Orthodox service for Ethiopian and Eritrean worshippers at a church in a makeshift camp near the port o
A man sings during an Orthodox service for Ethiopian and Eritrean worshippers at a church in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on Aug. 2, 2015.
Men buy from a shop run by Afghanis at a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on July 31, 2015. 
Men buy from a shop run by Afghanis at a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on July 31, 2015. 
A man walks past a tent in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on July 31, 2015.
A man walks past a tent in a makeshift camp near the port of Calais on July 31, 2015.

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