This Monday, French authorities began to clear the Calais migrant camp known as “The Jungle”. The camp was nearing the end of its second year of existence. It had become a problem for local authorities and for France in general. Many not for profit organizations worked together with the authorities to assist the migrants. Some worked to help underage minors, others put in an effort to help migrant families. In a coordinated attempt to put an end to the difficult situation in which the migrants lived, they were removed from the location.
The Dismantling of the Calais Migrant Camp Starts This Monday
Today, refugees were waiting in line at Calais to be summarily processed. Then they would be put on a bus going to different areas of France.
The Calais migrant camp became a symbol for how the European Union is struggling with wave after wave of migrants. Some of the people in the camp are fleeing armed conflicts in their homeland. Others still are economic migrants, fleeing strife in their country of origin and looking for opportunities in Europe. Over a period of two years, the number of people in the Calais migrant camp had risen to over 6,000. The situation of asylum-seekers living in improvised conditions at Calais received a lot of media attention. Even Francois Hollande visited the camp and expressed his discontent with the conditions there. So the consensus was that the situation cannot continue as such.
Last month, France made the announcement that it was going to dismantle the makeshift camp at Calais. The news upset the refugees in the camp. Coming from places as distant as Afghanistan or Sudan, they were hoping to make their way to the United Kingdom.
The plan is for the camp to be completely empty within a matter of days. According to authorities, the estimate for the number of migrants that will be processed this Monday is 2,500. In order to make sure that there are no incidents, 1,000 French police were present at Calais.
Regional Prefect Fabienne Buccio was overall happy with the result of the first day.
“We knew this morning that there would be a lot of people, and that’s what’s happening. There was no pushing… We had a particular concern for the minors, paid them particular attention, but it went well.”
Said Fabienne Buccio.
The Migrants Change Their Plans
The migrant camp formed at Calais as this was the last stop on the European mainland for the refugees. Most of them were on their way to the UK and were waiting for the opportunity to go. The plan of those at Calais was to somehow cross the English Channel and get into Britain. The country presented a mirage to the migrants of a strong economy and plenty of opportunities for immigrants. Added to that was the fact that most of them were somewhat familiar with the English language.
Thousands of migrants attempted to get to Britain as stowaways, using the Eurotunnel. Out of thousands, very few succeeded. Most remained in the improvised camp waiting on a better opportunity and without a clear status. Now, that the French authorities are offering the migrants a place somewhere in rural France, the migrants are reconsidering their plans. They are likely to remain in France.
Image source: Wikipedia