More than 2500 lorry trucks are stranded in Kent as France shuts its borders to the UK for 48 hours amid fears of the new Coronavirus strain. Some statistics say there are over 5000 lorries currently stuck along the motorways, with the drivers now complaining that they are not being given basic facilities.
Drivers have been stuck living inside their trucks for days and there have been growing frustrations about when they will be able to get going. The stranded drivers complained that the conditions on the roadside were awful. There were few toilets available to those still stuck, and many drivers had been left with little or no access to hot food, drinks and showers.
However, on Wednesday, lorries began boarding ferries at Dover on Wednesday after travel restrictions were lifted by the French government on the condition of a negative Covid-19 test. While around 170 army personnel are at work conducting tests, there are still long waits and clashes.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government was using "every tool we can" to clear the backlog.
Mr. Shapps warned of "a lot of congestion and some, I'm afraid, anti-social behaviour around the ports that the police have been dealing with", since some of the drivers got into scuffles with the law enforcement, claiming to have been treated ‘worse than dogs’.
Amidst this chaos, Sikhs in the UK are extending a helping hand by delivering hot meals - chickpea curries and pasta meals for free to hundreds of France-bound truck drivers stranded in the United Kingdom, a widely praised gesture that is rooted in tradition. To come to their aid, a charity known as 'Langar Aid' has been sending food packets to the stranded drivers. The group, based out of Coventry, packed nutritious and safe meals to the drivers. Not just the Langar Aid, but several other Sikh organisations are raising awareness to help out these drivers and ensuring they get freshly cooked hot meals in this time of crisis.