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Quelle: The Guardian

Médecins du Monde, which has semi-permanent base in migrant camp, says number of people needing urgent help has rocketed in recent days

Medical staff in Calais say they are struggling to cope with the number of seriously injured migrants, who are taking ever greater risks attempting to get to the UK.

As French police confirmed the death of another migrant attempting to cross the Channel, Médecins du Monde, which has a semi-permanent base in “the jungle” migrant camp in Calais, said that the number of people needing urgent help had rocketed in recent days.

Migrants are making thousands of attempts to enter the Eurotunnel site on a near nightly basis. Eurotunnel said on Wednesday that it had blocked 37,000 attempted incursions.

As many as nine migrants have died since the beginning of June. The latest migrant to die is thought to have been a Sudanese man.

In the last two nights hundreds of migrants have made more than 3,500 attempts to storm the Eurotunnel terminal, according to the company, describing it as the biggest incursion in the past six weeks. Two other Sudanese migrants, both in their 30s, were recovering in hospital after being struck by high-speed trains on Monday.

The British home secretary, Theresa May, said on Wednesday that there was a need for urgent security improvements at Calais. She said the British government would work with Eurotunnel on additional measures.

Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, said an extra 120 police officers would be sent to Calais. Cazeneuve said Eurotunnel must also take responsibility for security at the site.

The Eurotunnel chairman, Jacques Gounon, told French radio station France Info the company had made considerable investments in security. He said: “This isn’t a case of a passenger not paying for their ticket, we are facing systematic and massive invasions, maybe even organised ones.”

The British government has already pledged an extra £7m to boost security around the Eurotunnel site – news that was met with resignation in the sprawling 3,000 strong camp on the outskirts of Calais, as migrants vowed they would continue to try to enter the UK. Many said they had no other choice.

Chloe Lorieux, from the Calais branch of Médecins du Monde, said that more people with more serious injuries were seeking urgent attention in the NGO’s field hospital.

“It’s definitely worse than before; yesterday half the injuries we saw were serious, from people falling off trains or lorries,” she said. “The more difficult it gets, the more risks people are taking and the more dispirited everyone in the camp gets.”

The first aid unit – a couple of simple wooden sheds manned by a volunteer doctor and a nurses daily – was struggling to cope with demand, she added. More than 90 people a day are now seeking help – a significant increase on the 60 a day presenting themselves for treatment when the Guardian last visited two weeks ago.

The walking wounded could be seen at every turn in the debis-strewn camp.

At the field hospital, hobbling migrants sought help from a doctor, those cut by barbed wire were waiting to see a nurse. Ibrahim, a 26-year-old from Sudan, sat in a dazed state with a new plaster cast. He had broken his leg hours ago, falling while attempting to climb onto a train. “I think there was maybe 500 people trying last night,” he said.

“Lots were injured, they hurt their legs, their heads. It is very difficult, we cut the fence, then we wade through water, then there is police, dogs. We hide, but if we get past maybe we get the train, and then maybe you will die. It is like a war.”

He said he would try again as soon as his leg was healed.

In the large Sudanese tent where newcomers congregate, 17-year-old Hamed said he didn’t know the man who had died – acquaintances in the jungle are fleeting and transient – but the mood darkened with every death.

“We hear that and we are very sad,” he said. “In this place we are all brothers, we all have the same problems and we know next time it could be us.”

A group of young men told Channel 5 News that it was their friend who had died attempting reach the tunnel. “Someone over there died, he died. Nobody helped him,” one man said, pointing in the direction of the crossing. The reporter points out to the men than an ambulance is at the scene.

According to the last official count in July, about 3,000 migrants, mainly from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan, were living in the makeshift camps in Calais but Eurotunnel believes there are up to 5,000.

Speaking in Singapore before the latest death was announced, David Cameron, the British prime minister, said the situation was not satisfactory, adding that he felt sympathy with British holidaymakers.

“We are doing everything we can. We know how important this is,” he said, adding that the government would be working with the French “to bring these things to a conclusion”.

Speaking of the last two days’ events, Gilles Debove, a police officer in Calais and head of a policing union, told France Info radio that the number of migrants making attempts had gone up from 500 three weeks ago to 2,000 today.

Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe said none of the attempts by migrants was successful in crossing the Channel by train. Migrants, after making the three-mile (5km) journey from the camps on foot and then waiting for nightfall, were not coming anywhere near the tunnel itself, he said, adding that most made their way to the platforms to try to hide in trucks or on trains directly.

After a meeting with her French counterpart on Tuesday, May said a deal had been struck to step up removals of Calais migrants, particularly those coming from west Africa. The comments showed a lack of understanding of the situation on the ground, said Lorieux, of Médicines du Monde.

“If politicians are saying that they don’t know what is going on. These people are from Dafur, Eritrea, Afghanistan – they are fleeing war and dictatorship.”

Some in the camp have attempted to apply for asylum in France, but migrants told the Guardian they had to wait up to six months for an initial meeting, without food or shelter or any idea if their claim might be accepted.

Shahnawez, a Pakistani from the country’s border with Afghanistan, said he had been taken prisoner by the Taliban for working for a US NGO. He had spent three years and €8,000 (£5,600) to get to Calais and, like many here, hoped for a better life in the UK.

“Many people here speak English; they think the UK is safe and there is more justice and opportunity – that is why everyone wants to go.”

Mesti, a 30-year-old Eritrean Christian, who said she had left her country because of persecution, explained she had just arrived at the camp the night before and was frightened to try and climb on a train or lorry.

“When I arrived and I saw this place, I wanted to cry,” she said, gesturing at makeshift tents, held together with black plastic bags. “But if you send me home, you kill me – it is better to die here.”

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