France clears out Calais migrant camp

France clears out Calais migrant camp

CALAIS, France
France clears out Calais migrant camp French authorities said Oct. 26 that the Calais migrant camp known as “the jungle” was cleared days earlier than planned, hours after migrants at the camp set more tents and shelters ablaze and an explosion rocked the site.
A local official in the region, Fabienne Buccio, said Oct. 26 that their mission has been accomplished, The Associated Press reported. Thousands fleeing war and poverty have lived in squalor at the camp as they waited for a chance to sneak into Britain.

Buccio said that “there are no more migrants in the camp. Our mission has been fulfilled.”
Authorities moved fast after migrants set fire to shelters and tents in the camp in northern France before being forced to leave. 

French riot police spread out around the camp and fire trucks moved in to put out some of the fires, which sent towering plumes of smoke into the sky above the squalid and unsanitary camp that at one point housed more than 6,000 people. 

Local opposition to the makeshift camp, along with criticism from right-wing politicians, stung the French government into launching the clearing operation. 

More than 4,000 migrants, who had come to Calais hoping to cross the short stretch of sea to Britain by trying to leap on trucks and trains or walk through the tunnel, had been bussed out of the camp as of early Oct. 26 and relocated around France. 

The Oct. 26 explosion may have been a bursting gas bottle, like blasts that accompanied fires of scrap wood, plastic and fabric overnight. One person was slightly injured by those earlier explosions. 

Late on Tuesday, Buccio said it was difficult to prevent the fires, which became something of a ritual earlier this year when one section of the camp was dismantled. 

“Some migrants follow traditions - we asked them not to do it - but they set ablaze their tents and their shelters when they leave,” she said.