This month, French authorities have been demolishing the 'Jungle,' a toxic wasteland on the edge of Calais. Formerly a landfill site four kilometers square, it is now populated by approximately 5,000 refugees pushed there over the last year. A remarkable community of 15 nationalities adhering to various faiths comprises the Jungle. Residents have formed a network of shops and restaurants which, along with hamams and barber shops, contribute to a micro-economy within the encampment. Community infrastructure now includes schools, mosques, churches, and clinics.
The bishops released the private letter they sent to Cameron last month after the Prime Minister’s office failed to reply.
In it they called on the prime minister to increase the number of refugees that Britain is prepared to take in over the next five years — the expected lifespan of the parliament.
Specifically, church leaders called on the prime minister to absorb an additional 30,000 refugees, far beyond the 20,000 Cameron had committed to, and to consider involving the church in a national effort to “mobilize the nation as in times past.”
David Walker, Bishop of Manchester told the BBC Oct. 18 that the figure of 50,000 was acceptable to his parishioners and was, he said, “sustainable” on a national basis.