The number of foot passengers arriving at the French port of Calais has surged from a daily average of 800 up to 12,000 in the past five days.
It has become the main gateway between the UK and the Continent since flight restrictions were imposed.
Travellers have been resorting to increasingly desperate measures to get home.
“We were supposed to flÿ to Dublin on Thursday and it was rescheduled for Sunday, then cancelled, then rescheduled for Monday and cancelled, so we are here now and hopefully we are going the rest of the way,” said one man, who paid 700 euros for a taxi from Prague to Calais.
“We were in London, stranded in London, and we’re going back to Finland,” explained another traveller. “And actually our friend here, he took our car from Finland because he lives in England, so this is our car coming from Finland and we are returning back.”
During the past few days, there has been a lot of shipping on the Channel and here in Calais, the nerve centre of this emergency,” said Euronews correspondent Sergio Cantone.
“Thousands of passengers are either trying to reach Britain by sea or trying to reach the Continent from Great Britain. Moreover there is another traffic jam – thousands of rental cars which are waiting for passengers to drive them all over Europe”
With around 5,000 requests for hire cars on Monday alone, staff have been working overtime to try and help stranded passengers.
“There are a lot of people, yes! It’s totally stressful. So now we’re trying to work even harder until tonight, not eating, not drinking, so we can try to serve our clients as best we can,” said a staff member at the port.
Amid the chaos, there was light at the end of the tunnel for some holidaymakers.
“We finally got a rent-a-car after waiting for two hours, so we’re driving to Paris and to get down to Cahors,” said one relieved woman.
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