The SOS Tents project ran over the summer of 2018 with the aim of keeping the warehouse in Calais stocked with sufficient tents to ensure that the refugees in and around Calais could survive winter.
At the time there were around 1,000 refugees in the area between Calais and Dunkirk, 140 of whom were unaccompanied children, and the numbers were rising rapidly.
The refugees were supported with distributions of food, clothing, and tents by Help Refugees. However the authorities, determined to create a ‘hostile environment’ for them, instructured the French riot police (the CRS) to regularly perform clearances. Tactics included (and still include) waiting until the refugees lined up for food, and then destroying their tents, and contaminating their possessions with tear-gas.
In response CamCRAG volunteers came up with innovative designs for temporary tents made out of tarpaulins, reused tent poles, pegs and rope.