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French Authorities Declare Calais 'Jungle' Camp Empty

  • VOA News

France Migrants: Migrants wait to register outside a processing center in the makeshift migrant camp known as "the jungle" near Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016.

France Migrants: Migrants wait to register outside a processing center in the makeshift migrant camp known as "the jungle" near Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016.

French authorities declared the refugee camp known as "the jungle," near the French port city of Calais, empty Wednesday.

Large parts of the camp went up in flames Wednesday, as migrants set fire to shelters before being forced to leave.

Firefighters put out fires set by departing migrants who acted in keeping with a tradition of burning their tents, despite being told not to do so.

French authorities conducted the operation to clear what had become a symbol of Europe's refugee crisis and resettle migrants who had lived in dire conditions in the camp.

A spokesman for regional authorities said one migrant was hospitalized with minor injuries. About 100 migrants were evacuated Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.


Thousands moved out

French authorities say about 4,000 people have been transported to reception centers across France since dismantling of the Calais camp began Monday.

The camp was used to temporarily house 6,000 to 8,000 migrants.

Calais gained notoriety in the past two years as one of Europe's biggest slums for migrants and refugees, mainly Afghans, Sudanese and Eritreans, arriving there in hopes of reaching Britain a short distance across the sea.

There have been various refugee camps around Calais since 1999, when The French Red Cross opened and administered a reception facility named Sangatte, which quickly become overcrowded.

Since then, migrants set up makeshift shelters on unoccupied land and kept moving to new locations when camps were closed by the French authorities.

In Photos: Calais migrant camp

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