Massive population displacement
The national media relayed the key figures given by the then Minister of Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve. Number of migrants displaced: 2318 on the first day, then 4014 by the evening of Tuesday, 25 October. The total count of buses and the list of the towns where the 450 French Reception and Orientation Centres (CAO in French) are located made the headlines. They flooded the ministerial press releases. But there are no mentions of the transport arrangements or the logistics deployed.
Yet, the logistical and administrative challenge remains in Calais and many other French towns. Every day in Calais, one or two migrants come to the dormitories of the Temporary Reception Centre (CAP in French), as states its director, Stéphane Duval.
During the evacuations, it was reported that associations such as La Sauvegarde and Solincité had to welcome men and women after very long bus journeys. In this case, the use of blankets, emergency sleeping bags or disposable linens is without doubt necessary. Industral businesses such as Caractère manufacture such emergency sleeping bags oremergency sleeping bags orproducts for the social sector.
Packaged to react efficiently to the toughest of situations, they meet the hygiene and safety standards in force. Thanks to their lifespan (from several days to several weeks depending on the range), they are totally adapted to the particular circumstances of mass displacement. Integrated in a welcome pack or a reception kit, they demonstrate the willingness of the state structures to offer the best possible welcome to those who fled their country and are considering administrative approaches to the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA in French). In addition to the psychosocial dimension brought by user comfort, two other dimensions are to be considered.
A simplified logistics
Beyond the media and political challenges presented by the various issues (emergency reception, regularisation procedures, housing of asylum-seekers), the challenge is foremost logistical. At the time of departure from the camp, not only when organising the flow of refugees, but also and particularly at time of arrival in the CAO, logistics fully contributes to ensure a dignified reception. A solution to address the difficulties linked to late arrivals in the centres and the lack of equipment in the accommodation structures is to provide all bedding and toiletry linens at the time of departure from an informal camp such as Calais. This is particularly true for the newly built structures. This way, each person is treated fairly and receives new linens:
Arriving at the CAO, even late in the evening, it is then possible to settle quickly and take a shower before enjoying a well-deserved rest.
The guarantee of impeccable hygiene
The other advantage of the use of disposable linens is hygiene. The living conditions in the camps, in Calais for exemple, can be deplorable, particularly with regards to hygiene. “2 months on, the intensive use of the toilets causes damage to our facilities, declared an official for the Solidarités International organisation, the camp contains more than 3,000 people, it is therefore difficult to maintain the facilities in good condition given the frequency of their use and the lack of communal facilities maintenance”. It is therefore essential that refugees can use new and clean linens. If their clothes can be easily cleaned, it is not the case for bedding and towels. The use of disposable linens guarantees impeccable hygiene without the complexity of laundry processes.