France clears Calais 'Jungle' camp

More than 2,300 refugees have been evacuated from Calais camp as part of three-day operation

France clears Calais 'Jungle' camp

World Bulletin / News Desk

Hundreds of refugees have been moved Friday from the camp known as the Jungle in France's northern city of Calais as the government seeks to clear it.

According to Le Figaro citing Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, some 2,318 refugees had left the camp in buses as of 7.30 p.m. (1730GMT) of the first of what is expected to be a three-day evacuation.

Amid considerable police presence, mostly Sudanese and Eritrean refugees -- according to camp officials -- wearing colored wristbands headed to a warehouse to be bussed to asylum centers across France. Afghan nationals are to leave the camp by Tuesday said camp officials.

Pas-de-Calais prefect Fabienne Buccio said government officials had been working with associations who know the refugees to identify underaged parentless minors.

"We have spoken with the associations who are closely acquainted with children who are under 18 years old," he said, adding they will be sent to various asylum centers.

Buccio also said that "many" refugees have been telling officials that they were "happy to escape the Calais camp".

"The refugees who have connections in the U.K. will be sent [there], but the ones who want to stay in France will stay in the country and they will be given the right to seek asylum," Buccio added.

U.K. Home Secretary told MPs in the House of Commons Monday that 200 children had been brought to the U.K ahead of the clearance of the camp, including 60 girls identified at high risk of sexual exploitation.

"In the last seven day my officials have been interviewed 800 children in the camp claiming to have close family link in the U.K.," she said, indicating the clearance of the camp was in the national interest of both countries.

The refugees in the camp were hoping to cross the English Channel and reach the U.K., but the British government has currently been funding a new four-meter-high barrier that it hopes will stop them from trying.

Construction began last month on the concrete wall that will extend for a single kilometer alongside the motorway to the Calais port where ferries carrying trucks depart day and night for the U.K.

French President Francois Hollande had pledged to demolish the camp, which had been home to thousands of refugees, before the end of 2016.

Last Mod: 25 Ekim 2016, 09:51
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