Mi­grants moved from makeshift camp

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

CALAIS (AP): CAR­RY­ING THEIR be­long­ings in bags and suit­cases, long lines of mi­grants waited calmly in chilly tem­per­a­tures on Mon­day to board buses in the French port city of Calais, as author­i­ties be­gan evac­u­at­ing the squalid camp they call home.

French author­i­ties were be­gin­ning a com­plex op­er­a­tion to shut down the makeshift camp known as ‘the jun­gle’, up­root­ing thou­sands who made treach­er­ous jour­neys to es­cape wars, dictators or grind­ing poverty and dreamt of build­ing new lives in Bri­tain.

Closely watched by more than 1,200 po­lice, the first of hun­dreds of buses be­gan trans­fer­ring mi­grants to re­cep­tion cen­tres around France, where they can ap­ply for asy­lum. The camp will then be lev­elled in a week-long op­er­a­tion. Ho­tels and even cas­tles are among the hun­dreds of build­ings of­fi­cials have been con­vert­ing to mi­grant hous­ing.

“This is an op­er­a­tion we want to be peace­ful and un­der con­trol. So far it is,” French In­te­rior Min­is­ter Bernard Cazeneuve said in Paris.

Author­i­ties say the camp holds nearly 6,500 mi­grants who are seek­ing to get to Bri­tain. Aid groups say there are more than 8,300.

The ram­shackle camp in the sand dunes of north­ern France is home to mi­grants from Afghanistan, Su­dan, Eritrea, Syria and elsewhere. Af­ter of­ten har­row­ing jour­neys across land and treach­er­ous seas, pay­ing smug­glers along the way, most reach a dead end in Calais, un­able to find a way across the English Chan­nel.

The harsh re­al­ity of the move hit mi­grants on Mon­day. Some were happy to leave, oth­ers were con­fused or in shock.

Throngs of mi­grants lined up at the reg­is­tra­tion cen­tre where they were sep­a­rated by cat­e­gory, like fam­i­lies, un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors or adults.

TIRED OF WAIT­ING

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