Imagine never getting a chance to actually dry your feet for days on end, then having to walk for hours each day in the same sodden footwear. This is the reality for a majority of the people we support.
Over the past few weeks, almost every single one of our service and distribution sessions in Dunkirk has been accompanied by torrential rain. For the hours we are there we keep everybody covered using gazebos, however, once we leave people are once again exposed to the elements.
Every day we set up and are greeted by men, women and children whose clothes, shoes and other personal items are completely saturated. Those with cheap or worn, second-hand trainers or boots often find them falling apart within days due to the constant exposure to the marsh-like ground in the woods where people camp.
These conditions have led to an extremely high number of cases of fungal infections and conditions such as ‘trench foot’. This is simply where, due to prolonged exposure to moisture and little room to dry, the skin on a person’s feet becomes infected and begins to rot.
Thankfully, we often have the presence of the medical teams Médecins du Monde and First Aid Support Team in order to treat these cases, however with the population so high, many people continue to be afflicted.
In order to prevent conditions and ailments such as these, we endeavour to replace peoples’ shoes when they are broken or unsafe in the current weather. In order to continue to do this, we desperately need donations.
With winter now very much here, our teams are on-site each day distributing shoes, new socks and underwear, along with other essential winter items such as gloves, scarves and hats.
If you are able to donate any of the above items or wish to purchase them and have them delivered to us direct, please get in contact.
Alternatively, you can donate to help us purchase these essential items in bulk, via our partner organisation People Not Borders we are able to purchase high quality, lasting footwear at affordable prices.
If you are able to donate please do so via the link below, thank you all for your continued support.
Photo credit: FAST (First Aid Support Team)