It is not often Eritrea gets a mention in the news. Thank you for your excellent article on the Eritrean refugee squat in Calais (The house of despair, G2, 30 July) explaining the appalling human rights situation that is forcing so many young people to flee Eritrea – with so many dying on the way in the Libyan deserts or the Mediterranean.

It is not often Eritrea gets a mention in the news. Thank you for your excellent article on the Eritrean refugee squat in Calais (The house of despair, G2, 30 July) explaining the appalling human rights situation that is forcing so many young people to flee Eritrea – with so many dying on the way in the Libyan deserts or the Mediterranean.

The first thing you notice is the smell. Sour and rancid, it cuts at the back of your throat; a powerful combination of rotting food, urine and sweat. Next it’s the flies, lots of them, circling in a frenzy. Then, out of the gloom, a pair of eyes emerges, and another – and then the shape of a young man, sleeping deeply on one of the grubby mattresses that line the floor of this derelict place. A few minutes from the centre of Calais, this is “Africa house”, so called because of the 40 or 50 Eritrean asylum seekers who now squat here, waiting and hoping.

The first thing you notice is the smell. Sour and rancid, it cuts at the back of your throat; a powerful combination of rotting food, urine and sweat. Next it’s the flies, lots of them, circling in a frenzy. Then, out of the gloom, a pair of eyes emerges, and another – and then the shape of a young man, sleeping deeply on one of the grubby mattresses that line the floor of this derelict place. A few minutes from the centre of Calais, this is “Africa house”, so called because of the 40 or 50 Eritrean asylum seekers who now squat here, waiting and hoping.