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In Calais France and UK trade blame over migrants left in 'Jungle'

Fifty minors took up the offer and left the Jungle by bus, an AFP reporter said. Others were still hoping to be transferred to Britain

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French police officers and charity workers escort young migrants to board a bus leaving for a reception centre, in Calais, on October 28, 2016 play

French police officers and charity workers escort young migrants to board a bus leaving for a reception centre, in Calais, on October 28, 2016

(AFP)

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Dozens of migrant youths stranded for two days in the Calais "Jungle" as it was being demolished were offered transfers out of the camp Friday as France and Britain battled over who was to blame for their plight.

The migrants, many of them minors, slept in some of the shelters left standing in a part of the slum that was razed in March, a prelude to this week's massive clearance of the camp.

The Care4Calais charity said 107 people bedded down in makeshift schools, churches and mosques. Aid workers on Friday urged them to take buses leaving for shelters in another part of France.

Up to 8,000 people had been living in squalid conditions at the "Jungle" migrant in Calais, northern France play

Up to 8,000 people had been living in squalid conditions at the "Jungle" migrant in Calais, northern France

(Graphics/AFP)

Fifty minors took up the offer and left the Jungle by bus, an AFP reporter said. Others were still hoping to be transferred to Britain.

The fate of minors left behind in the blackened mess of the sprawling camp emptied of thousands of migrants this week, some of whom set fire to their shelters on leaving, has sparked a war of words between France and Britain.

France sees the Jungle -- one of the most visible symbols of Europe's migrant crisis -- as a problem of Britain's making given that most of the migrants living there hoped to sneak across the Channel into England.

Around 100 teenagers and young men slept near the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais, northern France play

Around 100 teenagers and young men slept near the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais, northern France

(AFP)

On Thursday evening, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve reacted indignantly to a demand by his British counterpart Amber Rudd that children left in the Jungle are "properly protected."

Cazeneuve expressed "surprise" at Rudd's call.

"These people... had been planning to migrate to the United Kingdom", he said in a statement, insisting that France "had fulfilled its responsibilities out of solidarity and without trying to shy away" from its duty.

Members of the French demolition crew tear down the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais, northern France play

Members of the French demolition crew tear down the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais, northern France

(AFP)

Nearly 1,500 children have been moved to a container camp reserved for minors next to the Jungle.

Britain has taken in 274 others since mid-October and is examining hundreds of other applications.

On Thursday, a further eight buses left the ghostly shantytown, carrying 226 adults and 16 minors to shelters dotted around France.

A spokesman for the UN refugee agency UNHCR said Friday the agency had asked that "special arrangements be made to ensure the safety and welfare of children in the Jungle before it closed.

Verses of "The New Colossus" sonnet by Emma Lazarus are written on a wooden structure at the demolished "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais in northern France play

Verses of "The New Colossus" sonnet by Emma Lazarus are written on a wooden structure at the demolished "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais in northern France

(AFP)

"We are continuing to work to identify and protect children and other individuals with special needs in Calais," spokesman William Spindler said in an e-mailed statement.

Camp embers

On Friday, demolition teams resumed tearing down the makeshift dwellings where around 6,400 people, mostly Afghans, Sudanese and Eritreans, had been living according to official estimates.

Migrants on a bus leaving for a reception centre, in Calais play

Migrants on a bus leaving for a reception centre, in Calais

(AFP)

Nearly 4,400 adults, mostly single men, have been moved to towns and villages around France.

Regional security chief Fabienne Buccio declared the camp empty Wednesday after nearly all the migrants had been bussed away and claimed those left behind were new arrivals lured by the prospect of being admitted to Britain.

"You can't say the operation is over when there are people left," fumed Anne-Louise Coury, the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) coordinator in Calais. "The state still has a serious obligation towards migrants who are minors."

In sections that had yet to be razed, youths and charity workers huddled around coal fires Thursday evening.

Nearly 4,400 adults, mostly single men, have been moved to towns and villages around France play

Nearly 4,400 adults, mostly single men, have been moved to towns and villages around France

(AFP)

A giant teddy bear lay face down in the sand and flowers still sprouted from planters, a reminder of a community that had tried to preserve basic pleasures while living in transit.

Decamping to Paris

More than one million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa poured into Europe last year, sowing divisions across the 28-nation bloc and fuelling the rise of far-right movements, including Germany's Pegida and France's National Front.

Most of the migrants in Calais hoped to reach Britain because they have contacts there, speak the language and believe their job prospects to be better than in France.

Aid groups estimated that between 2,000 and 3,000 migrants still intent on crossing the Channel left the Jungle before the evacuation began, some of them fleeing south to Paris.

Charles Drane, coordinator of an NGO that helps asylum-seekers sleeping rough in northeast Paris said his charity was now feeding over 1,000 people a day, up from 700-800 a few days ago.

French authorities has said those who agree to be moved to shelters can seek asylum in France. Those who refuse risk being detained and deported.

Many locals fear new settlements will simply spring up in the area after the Jungle is razed.

Calais Mayor Natacha Bouchart on Thursday said claims of its demise were "premature" and demanded police guarantees it would not be allowed re-emerge.

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