France begins dismantling Calais Jungle refugee camp

Hundreds are evacuated as French workers protected by police start dismantling the huge camp on second day of operation.

    An estimated 6,000-8,000 refugees lived in the camp before the operation started [Reuters]
    An estimated 6,000-8,000 refugees lived in the camp before the operation started [Reuters]

    French crews have begun disassembling makeshift shelters in the so-called Jungle refugee camp near Calais in France as residents are bussed to shelters around the country.

    Wearing hard hats and orange overalls, French workers on Tuesday used electric saws to take down wooden shelters and earth-moving equipment to clear debris from the site that has for years been a hub for attempts to reach Britain. Riot police carrying shields sealed off the area.

    Beforehand, aid workers and officials had gone tent-to-tent to ensure the area had been vacated, the AFP said.

    WATCH: Crisis in Calais

    Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told the lower house of parliament in the afternoon that more than 1,000 had been sheltered on Tuesday, coming after the 1,918 adults and 400 unaccompanied minors were taken from the makeshift camp on the first day of the government operation.

    Cazenueve said that controls would be increased in the area to prevent new illegal camps being built on the French coastline.

    An estimated 6,000-8,000 refugees who hoped to cross the Channel and reach Britain, mostly Afghans, Sudanese and Eritreans, were estimated to be living in the camp, the AFP news agency said.

    No injuries

    Refugees lined up jostled with the police on Tuesday, but officials said there were no injuries, adding that there were also no violent confrontations with police Monday overnight.

    France: Dismantling of 'Jungle' refugee camp under way

    Cazeneuve said all unaccompanied minors "with proven family links in Britain" would eventually be transferred and that London had also committed to reviewing all other cases where it was "in the child's interest" to settle across the Channel.

    Britain has taken in nearly 200 teenagers over the past week. Hundreds more are waiting for a decision.

    British Interior Minister Amber Rudd pledged to bring eligible children from France to Britain "as quickly and as safely as possible" in the coming days and weeks, without specifying numbers.

    Located on wasteland next to the port of Calais, the four-square-kilometre (1.5-square-mile) Jungle has become a symbol of Europe's failure to resolve its worst migration crisis since World War II.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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