Calais ‘Jungle’ Tamed

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Todd Potter, Staff Writer

  On Monday morning, hundreds of migrants lined up and waited for buses to take them to centers all across France.  The French government implemented its plan to disband the migrant camp called the ‘Jungle’ in the city of Calais.  

  The Jungle camp was formed by migrants fleeing war and poverty as they waited to sneak from the English Channel into Britain.  The camp has been a symbol of the European Union’s struggle to address the European migration crisis.

  Families and people traveling alone were first separated into different lines due to their vulnerability.  After this, the migrants were shown a map of France and asked to which region they would like to go before boarding buses headed to those areas.    

  Over 1,200 police officers monitored the migrants due to fights that ensued during the previous attempt to destroy the migrant camp, but no violence occurred.  The police officers guarded the entrance to the registration center and monitored the flow of migrants as they registered for their transfer.  

  French authorities arrived Tuesday and began to demolish the hundreds of tents and shacks, various stores, restaurants, mosques, and a church, all made from plastic and wood sheeting.  Men burned down wooden structures and cleared the people out.  By Wednesday, the camp was completely destroyed.

  Alanna Tran (11), in regards to the disbandment of the Calais camp, stated,“If [France doesn’t] want to take any more immigrants into that area or help out then destroying the camp isn’t a problem.”

  Clare Moseley, the founder of Care4Calais, believes new refugees may arrive and re-establish the camp despite the

French government’s efforts. She stated, “I think people will still come, with refugees, deterrents don’t matter because a refuge by definition is fleeing something,”

  In fact, in February, half of the camp was destroyed by the government, but seven months later, the camp was bigger than ever before.  

  When the clearing was over, a total of 4,404 former residents of the Jungle were moved into the 450 shelters across France, with a total of about 7,500 beds, made available to the migrants. 1,200 children from the camp were moved into a center made out of converted shipping containers near the former camp.

  Trevor Kutler (11) concedes that although the migrants weren’t able to go to Britain, their lives have improved because of France’s intervention. He stated, “[The migrants] should be grateful enough with the fact that they could escape their war-torn lands and were given supplies funded by donations, it certainly may not be the best living conditions but it sounds like an improvement.”

  Despite the fact that France relocated the migrants into better conditions, The Guardian said, “Almost two-thirds of people surveyed in the camp [by the Refugee Rights Data Project before the relocation] have said they do not want to be taken to French accommodation, while a third said they would continue to try to get into the UK.”  

  The president of France, François Hollande says all migrant camps in the nation will be destroyed before the end of the year.