Logistics And Frieght Forwarding

France Clears ‘Jungle’ Camp at Calais, Dispersing Thousands of Migrants

The squalid camp, growing and festering for over a year, has become a symbol of Europe’s faltering efforts to handle its migration crisis[1]. At its recent peak, up to 10,000 lived there in shivering misery, and as many as 100 arrived each day after arduous journeys by foot, boat, truck and clandestine train rides across continents and seas. Before Monday’s operation, the population was 6,000 to 8,000.

A Short History of ‘The Jungle’

The area around Calais, France[2], has been dotted with refugee settlements for over a decade.

Judging by the crowds on Monday, many of the migrants appeared set to shed their dreams of Britain and were as anxious to be rid of the camp as the government was.

On Tuesday, French officials plans to start demolishing and clearing its flimsy shacks, fields of tents and piles of trash spread over 1.5 square miles.

While the clearing of the camp was peaceful, the police warned that they were expecting some resistance from activist groups, if not from the migrants themselves, when the demolition begins on Tuesday.

“The Jungle is no good,” said Abdullah Umar, 24, who is from Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region and hoped to apply for asylum in France. He was waiting in line on the road. “There are problems. Sometimes there’s fighting.

And it’s cold.”

Mr. Umar added: “France is a good country. People from France gave me all these clothes.” He pointed to his new suitcase, which looked packed full.

Hassan Jibril, 35, another Sudanese man, trying to keep himself warm in the Jungle’s warren of tents, said, “We are ready to leave.”

He was wearing flip-flops in the 40-degree chill and heating some pots over an outdoor fire. “It is a very bad situation here,” he said. “You see that?” he said, pointing to a trash-filled puddle next to his tent. “If you stay here, you can die.”

Continue reading the main story[3]

Awaiting the migrants was a complicated plan, fine-tuned by French officials since late summer, to disperse them in waves of bus journeys to dozens of towns and villages all over France.

Video

Evacuation of Calais Migrant Camp

The sprawling camp in France, known as the Jungle, has been home to thousands of people fleeing war, persecution and poverty and seeking of a better life in Europe, and particularly in Britain.

By CAMILLA SCHICK on Publish Date October 24, 2016. Photo by Etienne Laurent/European Pressphoto Agency. Watch in Times Video >>[4]

Sixty buses will take 50 migrants each on the first day, 45 buses on Tuesday and 40 on Wednesday; each migrant will be given a choice between two French regions. (The ?le-de-France region, which includes Paris, and the island of Corsica are not among the options.)

In the early-morning darkness on Monday, the buses were lined up for hundreds of yards along a side road in the barren industrial zone that is home to the Jungle.

Some of the towns and villages hosting these 451 reception centers — abandoned barracks, hospitals, disused government vacation camps — have been demonstrating against their arrival in recent weeks; but the migrants do not know that.

The French government, anxious to deflect criticism from charities over the destruction of the Jungle, calls its plan a “humanitarian intervention,” insisting that it is moving forward for the migrants’ own good.

“The immense majority of migrants present at Calais are eligible for international protection,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

It described their sojourn in the reception centers as a “respite” allowing them to “serenely envisage a request for asylum in France.” Some, however, will not be granted asylum and will be expelled.

At the end of the line on Monday, the migrants jostled to get into a giant concrete hangar where officials were processing them inside four big blue tents — one for adults, one for families, one for minors and one for the “vulnerable” — leading to six yellow tents, one for each destination region. Outside, the migrants pushed against a line of wary-looking police officers, more than 1,000 of them, sent in by the government.

Crowds of teenagers and children, processed separately from the adults, bore out the charities’ contention, made repeatedly in recent weeks, that the camp has been home to over 1,000 unaccompanied minors, many of them Afghans.

Many of these minors have relatives in Britain and are eligible for asylum, the destination of choice. France has been locked in a fierce negotiation with the British government to take the children in; about 200 left in the last week.

Continue reading the main story[5]

The humanitarian groups pressed the government to delay the Jungle’s shutdown, but there was little sentimentality among its residents over its demise.

On Sunday evening, the Jungle’s last night, crowds of young Eritrean men moved down its principal lane, shouting in English: “Jungle is finished! Jungle is over.”

Vendors engaged in frantic pre-destruction sales, laying out their wares — old running shoes, toothpicks, dishwashing liquid, Afghan flags — at bargain rates.

By Monday morning the beaten-up shacks housing the camp’s well-established restaurants, mostly Afghan, and shops were vacant, burned-out and broken-down shells.

“Where am I going now?” said an Afghan man, Nasir Maruf. He was disturbed by the Jungle’s imminent destruction. “I’m still waiting for the U.K.”

But the reality was that few migrants made it out of this northern port city that overlooks the Strait of Dover.

Some clung to a hope that they might be able to leave for Britain by sneaking into[6] one of the cargo trucks that use the Channel Tunnel, or even by walking through it.

It was largely a false hope.

More representative was the resignation of a Sudanese man waiting in the line to be processed on Monday. “This Jungle, you have got to make a solution.

Now, the border is closed,” said Ahmed Adam, 24, a plastics factory worker from Khartoum, referring to Britain’s determination to block the migrants.

“France is safety,” he said. “Khartoum is not safety.”

Continue reading the main story[7]

References

  1. ^ migration crisis (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ Calais, France (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ Watch in Times Video >> (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)
  6. ^ sneaking into (www.nytimes.com)
  7. ^ Continue reading the main story (www.nytimes.com)



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