Stop the aid blockade at Dunkirk's refugee camp

  • by: The Hummingbird Project
  • recipient: Mayor of Dunkirk, Mayor of Grand-Synthe, Sous Prefecture du Nord & Chief of Dunkirk Police

While the French and UK authorities decide how to address the refugee crisis unfolding at a camp in Dunkirk, the people there are being left out in the cold and without adequate help.

Currently, aid workers have been banned by the French authorities from bringing tents or shelter building materials on to the Grand Synthe site. Access to the site is restricted and volunteers with cars full of blankets and food are regularly turned away by the police. The camp is home to many families with young children and unaccompanied minors, with new people arriving daily. They are forced to shelter in leaking tents and are desperate, traumatised and scared. 

French and UK based voluntary organisations have the funding and expertise to work alongside French authorities to build temporary, heated shelters for the most vulnerable in the camp. 

Please sign now to ask that the French authorities relax the ban on tents and building materials and work with the aid organisations to allow these shelters to be built and appropriate aid to to be distributed.

Image credit:

Dear Mayor of Dunkirk, Sous Prefecture du Nord & Chief of Dunkirk Police,

I am writing on behalf of the Hummingbird Project. We are based in the South of England and our aim is to provide aid and show solidarity with refugees in Europe and accross the world. Our volunteers work to keep people warm, dry and healthy through aid, soup kitchens, medical support, safe spaces and building projects. Our current projects have focused on the camps in Calais and Dunkerque.

We are writing to ask that the ban on tents and other shelter building materials is lifted at the Grand Synthe site. We are aware that there are plans to move the camp but these are taking time to finalise and the people in the camp desperately need shelter now.

We have a team of skilled builders, carpenters and handy people. Members of our team have experience in structural design and engineering. We work in partnership where possible and have links with various other organisations including Medecins San Frontiere and Aid Box Convoy.

We would like to work with the other agencies on the ground to provide temporary shelter to the most vulnerable people at the camp. This will include sourcing and providing tents and temporary wooden shelters. Where possible this will include building raised floors to help get people out of the mud.

We will ensure shelters are temporary and able to be moved when needed. We will work with consideration for the environment and support the maintenance and repair of any structures built.

We need permission for aid workers and volunteers to bring tents and basic building materials and tools onsite. This problem is not going to dissappear. It is essential we do everything possible to house the growing number of refugees.


The Hummingbird Project  

Update #37 years ago
The conditions at the current camp have not improved but we will not give up. The Hummingbird Project is supporting the design and build of a new camp. We want refugees to feel valued. Having properly built facilities, a school and warm dry communal spaces goes some way towards doing this. We need your help to make this happen. Please help us spread the word, share this video, fundraise and donate. Every little bit helps. Thank you

Update #27 years ago
We welcome the news that MSF have secured permission to build a new camp in the coming weeks. As we wait for it to be constructed, aid workers are still being refused permission to bring tents and shelter building materials onto the current site. We will be hand delivering our petition next week and asking the authorities to stop the aid blockade at Grand Synthe. Please continue to sign and share to show your support.
Update #17 years ago
We heard today that French authorities are relaxing the ban for one day to allow aid workers to repair and replace damaged tents. Tents and pallets are to be allowed on site on Monday the 11th January. We welcome this news however it doesn’t address the real needs of the camp. New refugees arrive daily and the challenging weather means tents do not last. We will continue to campaign for the rights of each refugee to warm, dry shelter. Please circulate this petition to all your contacts.
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