Multi-agency efforts to provide people caught up in the cross-Channel traffic disruption in Kent with food, water and facilities is continuing over the Christmas period.
On the M20, Kent County Council, with the help of Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) partners and organisations including the Salvation Army, aid agency Khalsa Aid and South East Water, continues working to ensure drivers are provided with hot food, sandwich meal bags and drinking water.
A number of food donations from South East catering companies are also being transported by Network Rail to Ashford train station and distributed by KRF partner the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Several supermarkets and businesses, including Greggs, Lidl and the Imperial Hotel at Hythe have also made donations.
As part of KCC efforts to make sure people in the traffic management system Operation Brock are being cared for, a further 32 portable toilets have also been installed between junctions 10a and 11, adding to the portaloos provided on Monday at 1km intervals along this stretch of motorway. Toilets are being cleaned at 12-hour intervals.
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While traffic queues will ease as drivers meet France’s COVID-19 testing requirements and are cleared for onward travel via either the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel, it remains important people avoid travelling to Kent while the disruption continues. And if people must travel, that they come prepared for delays and carry food, water and blankets. Road-side welfare can only be provided to stationary traffic for safety reasons and it is not a long-term option.
Kent County Council Leader Roger Gough said: “The kindness and humanity shown by people who have rallied to provide welfare for those caught up in delays at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel is amazing.
“I would like to thank all those who are coming forward to help, including charities, businesses, voluntary groups and, of course, our own driver welfare teams.
“The situation should now improve steadily as drivers secure negative COVID-19 test results and are able to continue their journeys into France by ferry or freight train. I have, however, deep sympathy for those for whom this will come too late to spend Christmas with their families.
“I would also like to thank Kent communities for their support and understanding during what has been an extremely time and hope the knowledge that the disruption will continue to ease is some welcome good news.”
Organisations wanting to offer support should contact the Kent Together helpline on 03000 419292. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently unable to consider offers of help from individual members of the public.