Demolition of France's 'Jungle' migrant
camp set to begin
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[October 25, 2016]
By Matthias Blamont
CALAIS, France (Reuters) - France will
begin dismantling the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais on Tuesday as
several hundred more inhabitants queued for temporary housing in centers
More than 2,300 camp dwellers - more than a third of the total - left
the filthy shanty-town outside the northern port by bus on Monday, with
French officials celebrating the peaceful start of the operation after
sporadic weekend skirmishes.
An interior ministry spokesman said that the demolition operation would
start by hand and that the bulldozers would not roll in immediately in
an effort to minimize tensions.
For many of the migrants fleeing war and poverty, the closure of the
"Jungle" marks the end of a dream to reach Britain, which lies a
tantalizingly short sea crossing away, where most had sought to reunite
with family or find work.
"We know the Jungle is over," said Aarash, a 21-year-old Afghan as he
made his way to the hangar where immigration officials are processing
"We will see if we can get on a bus today, but we want a good city, like
one near Paris. If we can't go there we will come back to the Jungle."
The young migrant's words echo concerns held by some aid workers that
migrants who remain defiant to reach Britain or become disillusioned
with the resettlement process will simply regroup in Calais at a later
Nestled in the sand dunes, the Jungle is a symbol of Europe's failed
migration policies as member states bicker over who should take in
asylum-seekers and economic migrants. Many have fled countries like
Afghanistan, Syria as well as Eritrea and Sudan.
[to top of second column]
Men remove the roof ing of a makeshift shelter on the second day the
evacuation of migrants and their transfer to reception centers in
France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle"
in Calais, France, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
London and Paris have been at odds over the fate of about 1,300
unaccompanied child migrants. The French government last week urged
Britain to step up its efforts and resettle child migrants.
On Monday, British Interior Minister Amber Rudd said Britain would
take in roughly half of the camp's children who are alone.
"Then we will have done our commitment to the French," Rudd told
lawmakers in parliament.
Six months ahead of a presidential election in France, the camp and
border controls with Britain are hotly debated campaign themes. Some
right-wing opponents of President Francois Hollande want all the
migrants transferred to Britain.
Meanwhile, the far-right National Front party said the government
plan would create mini-Calais camps across France.
(Editing by Richard Lough amd Leigh Thomas)
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