Wednesday 21 March 2018

Women with children last out of Calais Jungle camp

Remains of the Jungle migrant camp near Calais in northern France (AP)
Remains of the Jungle migrant camp near Calais in northern France (AP)

The last residents of a sprawling migrant camp on the French side of the English Channel have been evacuated.

Some 291 women and children transferred to family centres around France so the government can close the camp for good.

The departure of the women and their children, who had been housed in a centre at the edge of the camp near the port city of Calais, completed a mass, state-run relocation of nearly 7,000 people in 11 days.

The now-empty women's centre, set up by the state, was the anchor of the slum that mushroomed over 18 months as many thousands of migrants trying to get to Britain took refuge there.

The camp, known as the Jungle because of its dire living conditions, was demolished last week.

The women and children were bused to processing centres where they will be able to seek asylum in France or Britain, regional administration spokesman Steve Barbet said.

The camp's other residents, most of them men, were sent to similar centres last week - while 1,616 unaccompanied children who had been housed in heated containers were moved to special reception centres on Wednesday.

Migrants fleeing fighting and poverty in the Middle East and Africa converged on Calais while trying to sneak into Britain by hiding out in freight trucks.


"A painful page of history has been turned, which we do not want to revive," Calais Mayor Natacha Bouchart said.

Ms Bouchart had long pressed the French state to get rid of the camp, saying it was tarnishing the city's image, hurting its economy and fanning tensions among Calais residents.

"Never again. Never again, and I choose my words with care when I say this, because we all have lived hell on Earth, migrants as well as Calais inhabitants," she said.


Press Association

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