Flames, fear and football as Calais 'Jungle' cleared

French government finally moves to clear camp and declares operation a success, despite many refugees returning.

, | | Human Rights, Europe, France, Refugees, Desperate Journeys

Calais, France - The French government declared the informal refugee camp known as "The Jungle" closed on Wednesday after a police operation to clear and close the sprawling settlement.

A reported 5,596 people were bussed out to various refugee shelters in regions around France.

After much of the main commercial street was destroyed by overnight fires that left at least one refugee needing medical attention after a gas explosion, more blazes broke out the following morning, and eventually spread as firefighters, volunteers and refugees struggled to contain them.

On Wednesday afternoon, riot police began to evacuate the camp, advancing as a human barricade and forcing nearly all residents and volunteers out. 

Hundreds of refugees, though, returned to the camp in the afternoon, many of whom had now lost their shelters. 

Police said they detained four refugees suspected of starting the fires. 

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