Evac­u­a­tion plan sped up af­ter leav­ing mi­grants start blazes

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

French author­i­ties have de­clared the Calais mi­grant camp known as “the jun­gle” empty, af­ter fires set by de­part­ing mi­grants ac­cel­er­ated plans to evac­u­ate peo­ple from the bur­geon­ing slum.

Lo­cal of­fi­cials an­nounced the de­struc­tion of the camp, where thou­sands flee­ing war and poverty have lived in squalor as they waited for a chance to sneak across the English Chan­nel into Bri­tain. Mi­grants are be­ing moved to re­cep­tion cen­tres around France where they can seek asy­lum.

“There are no more mi­grants in the camp,” said Fa­bi­enne Buc­cio yes­ter­day, a lo­cal of­fi­cial in the camp. “Our mis­sion has been ful­filled.”

Mi­grants were seen milling around af­ter de­spite the an­nounce­ment, but author­i­ties said they would stop pro­cess­ing peo­ple by last night.

Mi­grants have flocked to the Calais re­gion for decades, but the camp has grown as Europe’s mi­grant cri­sis ex­panded. As it evolved into a mas­sive slum sup­ported by aid groups, France fi­nally de­cided to shut it down.

As the re­al­ity of the mass evac­u­a­tion took hold, fear­ful mi­grants from Afghanistan, Su­dan, Eritrea, Syria and Pak­istan braced for a new re­al­ity. Some pledged to just keep mov­ing.

“This jun­gle is no good,” said Muham­mad Afridi, 20, from Pak­istan. “We go to a new jun­gle.”

The main al­ley through the camp near the city of Calais burned overnight, leav­ing skele­ton-like hulks on ei­ther side of the road. Fire­fight­ers delved into the camp’s deep­est re­cesses, try­ing to pre­vent a mas­sive con­fla­gra­tion.

Gas can­is­ters popped as they ex­ploded in the heat. One aid group’s truck burst into flames. Mi­grants stood and watched. Some laughed. Steve Bar­bet, a spokesman for the re­gional author­i­ties, said one mi­grant was hos­pi­talised. About 100 mi­grants were evac­u­ated.

The camp once housed 6,300 mi­grants, ac­cord­ing to author­i­ties, but aid groups said the num­ber was much higher.

HEATED: One of the blazes that had to be dealt with at the camp

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