French authorities have started alerting migrants at the “Jungle” refugee camp outside Calais on Friday to leave the shanty town.
A French judge gave the go ahead for partial demolition of the southern part of the camp which is home to 1,000 people.
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French authorities begin making the rounds in a Calais migrant camp on Friday to alert residents that they would need to leave, after a French judge approved the partial demolition of the shantytown nicknamed ‘the jungle’. An official deadline expired on Tuesday for at least 1,000 migrants to leave the southern part of the camp, on the outskirts of the northern French port town.
Refugee groups and charities say ruling has created a sense of panic and raised fears about plight of unaccompanied children
A French court has given the go-ahead for the demolition of hundreds of tents and wooden shelters housing migrants and refugees in the shanty town outside Calais known as the Jungle.
The eviction is the most dramatic move yet by the French prefecture, which has long argued against the sprawling camp, saying conditions are unsanitary, undignified and represent a security risk.
At a hearing earlier this week, a lawyer for the prefecture argued that policing the camp represented a drain on resources during the state of emergency imposed after the Paris attacks in November.
The camp, on the outskirts of the French port, is a temporary home to thousands of migrants and refugees who are desperate to enter Britain. Their repeated attempts to stow away on lorries or force their way through the Channel tunnel, has disrupted traffic and forced French police to maintain a large presence.
Refugee groups and charities, who had urged the court in Lille to suspend the threatened eviction until suitable accommodation was found for the camp’s residents, said they would immediately appeal against the ruling it made on Thursday.
Earlier this month, the prefect of the Pas de Calais region, Fabienne Buccio, ordered the evacuation and demolition of the seven-hectare southern part of the camp.
The court ruled that the makeshift shelters could be destroyed but the common areas, such as churches, mosques, schools and medical centres, must remain.
Earlier on Thursday, the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said the eviction would be gradual.
“It was never a question of evacuating the south zone in a brutal fashion using bulldozers,” he said.
“This would scatter the migrants everywhere across the region.
“We intend to proceed by finding shelter for all those who are in the southern zone at Calais, particularly unaccompanied minors.”
He said a “reception centre” would be set up with women and vulnerable children a priority.
A spokesman for the Pas-de-Calais prefect’s office said: “The order is applicable, except for common social areas, so it won’t be applicable to places such as schools, a theatre and a legal office.”
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