Despite French officials claiming the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais is now empty, reporters share that this is not the case. Reportedly several hundred migrants remain inside the inhabitable space with nowhere to go. Approximately 200 unaccompanied minors were left with nowhere to sleep overnight, as the BBC shares. They are said to be becoming increasingly desperate now that the government has destroyed their makeshift homes in the camp.
— Care4Calais (@Care4Calais) October 27, 2016
Nearly 5,600 people have been moved to shelters and reception centers since Monday, the French government states. This includes around 1,500 unaccompanied minors that have been sent to an on-site container camp, which activists state is now full.
The demolition crews are continuing to clear tents and shelters from the camp, while departing refugees continue to set fires, causing billowing smoke to be taking over the area. The prefect of Pas-de-Calain, Fabienne Buccio considers it as a “mission accomplished” for those involved in the tear-down operation.
The camp symbolizes the migration crisis which exists across Europe, with many desperate to reach the United Kingdom. Save the Children representative Dorothy Sang spoke with the BBC on Monday and shared that hundreds of children had not been able to register for entrance into the area for minors seeing as the new containment areas were not big enough to house all minors who had no family.
“When there were fires raging in the camp, the camp was cleared, but the registration process for children was closed, and the containers were full. So there was literally nowhere for children to go,” she said.
Many of these children had chosen to run away, and their whereabouts at this point are unknown. The UK Home Office responded to a letter from Baroness Sheehan to Home Secretary Amber Rudd after she expressed her “extreme anger” following witnessing over 100 teenage boys turned away from the processing center on Tuesday night. The UK Home Office responded by stating that “all children in Calais during the clearance operation—including those being assessed for possible transfer to the UK,” were the responsibility of French authorities.
— HelpRefugeesUK (@HelpRefugeesUK) October 27, 2016
More than 1,200 police officers had been deployed to keep the tear-down of the Jungle its most peaceful, beginning on Monday. Fires began burning this same day amid the clearance work. Ms. Buccio shared with local media that the act of setting fire to their homes was “a tradition among the migrant population to destroy their homes before leaving.” However, remaining migrants claim that the fires were the acts of activists. One man was reported to have been injured by the fires when a gas canister exploded in flames.
The police authorities have been deployed not only to keep the peace in a likely difficult time for the migrants, but also for a security presence to prevent migrants from reaching the UK by way of the Channel that is close by.
A large number of migrants have been bused to safe asylum at shelters and centers, but unfortunately, the minors who have been left behind have nowhere to turn and no options like the thousands who were taken care of. The publication shares that the operation to tear down the camp that had become a place of increasing violence where approximately 8,000 migrants lived in terrible conditions and squalor, has gone faster than expected and on Wednesday afternoon, Buccio sated, “It’s the end of the Jungle, our mission is over. There are no more migrants in the camp.”
The publication relays the numbers regarding relocation efforts.
“A total of 5,596 people, including children, have been transported from the Jungle for resettlement, the French government says. This includes 234 minors brought to the UK since last week.”
As noted, the Jungle was home to nearly 8,000 residents; this, therefore, means that many are unaccounted for, aside from the hundreds of minors that remain homeless. Fear is rising that many of those who are not accounted for, fled but will return to set up camp once more on the demolished site.
[Feature Image by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]