Some 2,000 migrants and refugees in France’s Calais Jungle camp are to be forcibly evicted from their tents and constructed shelters are bulldozed in three days, say aid workers.
The French authorities issued a removal order — which affects roughly a third of the Jungle — on Monday following the opening of a new official camp built to house 1,500 refugees, which they say provides better accommodation.
But those living in the camp think that the shelters they have built for themselves, albeit ramshackle, afford far more privacy and dignity than the government camp, which is made up of converted shipping containers stacked on top of each other. They also believe they will be forced to apply for asylum in France once inside the official camp.
In a statement sent to VICE News, UK-based volunteer organization Help Refugees said: “Our Calais teams have just found out we have only three days to move and relocate approximately 2,000 refugees, including over 300 women and 60 kids, as the French government bulldoze a significant section (nearly one third) of the entire Calais camp, a much larger area than the associations on the ground have been previously told about.
“The area proposed includes approximately 500 shelters we, and other aid groups have built.”
The “ridiculously short timescale” meant organizations would only be able to support with the relocation of 1 in 10 of those people affected, estimated aid movement Worldwide Tribe. “That leaves 1,800 people, who may well be forced out of their ‘homes’ by bulldozers, with nothing,” it said in a statement. “That means 450 shelters, funded by donations and built by volunteers, will be destroyed with complete disregard. Who knows how many personal belongings, family photographs, important documents will be lost along the way, like they were when bulldozers last took to the camp.”
Read more: Vice News