A young Eritrean man has been found dead inside a trailer at a parking lot in the French port city of Calais. He is believed to have taken his own life.
A man of Eritrean origin, aged around 20-25, was found on Wednesday (May 11) in a truck trailer parked in the Transmarck area of Calais. He is thought to have died a few hours earlier after taking his own life.
The public prosecutor of Boulogne-sur-Mer said the identity of the man was not yet known, but an investigation had begun into the cause of death and an autopsy would be carried out.
The Agence France Presse (AFP) reports that the only witnesses to the tragedy were a group of migrants who discovered the man and alerted the police. Emergency services were called at about 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
News reports said the trailer was parked in the parking lot of the private transport company Scania, a fenced and monitored area not far from the port ring road and the A16, close to the entrance to the Eurotunnel to the UK.
According to France Bleu, a local public radio station, the man had been living in the trailer, which had been decommissioned.
Several deaths in the area
The death of the young Eritrean on Wednesday follows a number of deaths in and near Marck in recent months, particularly in the transit area used by trucks leaving for England.
In March, a 25-year-old Sudanese man was hit by a train while walking along the railway line.
A similar accident happened last November when a train hit a group of four people, killing one and seriously injuring another.
Another young Sudanese man was killed on January 15 in Marck. The 18-year-old had been trying to climb onto a truck when he fell and was crushed. A month earlier, a 16-year-old Sudanese boy died from a fall at the same spot.
"We are angry," the local branch of the NGO Utopia 56 wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
"Our thoughts are with his family and all those stranded here [in Calais]. Tomorrow, and in the days ahead, let us remember him."
Margeurite Combes, Utopia 56 coordinator, said the latest tragedy might not have happened if France had a fair migration policy and if there were safe routes to England.
Pierre Roques, the local coordinator of Auberge des Migrants, another NGO, described the Eritrean man’s death as "immensely sad."
"It happened near a camp where people have absolutely nothing and are still trying to get to England alone by getting into trucks," Roques told AFP.
Also read: France: How to ask for asylum in Calais
Driven to desperation
As migrants continue to take huge risks trying to cross the English Channel, the number of people camped around the area where the man was discovered on Wednesday has grown as a result of French authorities' frequent evictions of migrants from other tent settlements.
"Everything is done so that people can no longer settle, says Pauline Joyau from Utopia 56, adding that this "police harassment," poor living conditions and fatal accidents are all to blame for the serious addiction and other mental health problems suffered by so many migrants.
"The recent decision by the UK to outsource asylum to Rwanda has added to their anxiety," Joyau told InfoMigrants (French). "Many of them are in psychological distress. But as with everything else, they receive no help."
Utopia56 has a health care hotline – including psychological care – twice a week. Migrants also have access to state-run mental health centers in the region. "But that's not enough,” says Joyau. "With so few resources available, it's impossible to arrange a proper follow-up."
The French NGOs have repeatedly called on the government to end what they say are policies of deterrence that drive migrants to desperation.
With AFP, InfoMigrants French