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France Begins Demolishing Calais 'Jungle' Camp

  • VOA News

Crews start to demolish shelters in the makeshift migrant camp known as "the jungle" near Calais, northern France, Oct. 25, 2016.

Workers began demolishing the port of Calais "Jungle" camp Tuesday as part of a French government plan to clear what has become a symbol of Europe's refugee crisis.

Hundreds of migrants boarded buses on the second day of a massive operation to resettle about 6,000 people in refugee centers elsewhere in France.

More than 1,900 people left the camp Monday, ahead of work to destroy the makeshift shelters and eateries in the camp. At least 800 youngsters are provisionally sheltered in shipping containers in a part of the camp where families had been living.

The director of the center, Stephane Duval, said 400 youths were moved there Tuesday, with a goal of housing 1,000 minors by the end of the day.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said all unaccompanied minors "with proven family links in Great Britain" would eventually be transferred across the Channel.

In Photos: Calais Camp torn down

Britain has taken in nearly 200 teenagers over the past week, but the transfers were on hold Monday.

Calais gained notoriety in the past two years as one of Europe's biggest slums with 6,000 to 8,000 migrants and refugees, mainly Afghans, Sudanese and Eritreans, were living in dire conditions there in hope to reach 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 rapidly become overcrowded.

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

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.