Jungle camp is declared empty
On Monday 24th of October, French authorities confirmed the destruction of the "Jungle camp" near Calais. Mechanical diggers and various other machines were been used to dismantle the camp, tossing everything into massive skips and forcing some migrants to flee without their possessions.
In just four days, thousands of residents have been forced away and relocated into other communities throughout France. Authorities estimate that more than 5,000 people have been evacuated since Monday including hundreds of unaccompanied children. The evacuation had to be accelerated due to some frustrated migrants setting fire to parts of the camp. Fires swathed the main alley of the camp throughout the night, reducing shelters on either side of the road to skeleton-like shells. Gas canisters burst as they exploded in the heat and one first aid truck burst into flames. Siddiq, a 17 year old boy said that the fires terrified him during the night, especially when the gas tanks ignited.
Despite prompt measures, masses of disappointed migrants refused to leave, preferring to take their chances on boarding trucks to cross the Chanel or even the Eurostar. A 20 year old Pakistani said "This jungle is no good. We go to new jungle". He also added that he was meeting 30 other people to take their chances on reaching the UK thanks to a risky passage. One Ethiopian, Binal only gave his first name because he feared of being expelled. He had refused to board a bus on Wednesday, saying that he wanted to try and make it to England. Previous to the dismantling of the camp, some charities had already proclaimed that people were willing to take greater risks to reach the UK. At the beginning of October, a 14 year old boy died in a hit and run after falling off a lorry. The boy who has not been named had a legal right to travel to the UK thanks to some relatives living there, but became desperate about getting his "laissez-passer".
Today, the Pas- de- Calais' prefect, Fabienne Buccio, had declared that the camp is now completely empty. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuse said that 450 reception centres had been set up throughout France to assist people seeking asylum. He had actually announced earlier this month that he intended to dismantle the entire camp by the end of the year but no one imagined such an instant measure. After the September Blockade organised by the hauliers and famers, the construction of the Calais wall finally began earlier this month.