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Calais migrant camp will 'soon be completely cleared'

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Calais migrant camp will 'soon be completely cleared'
Photo: AFP
10:32 CEST+02:00
The mayor of Calais in northern France has said the remaining northern part of the Jungle camp, where thousands of migrants are camped out in squalid conditions will soon be cleared.

Natacha Bouchart, the mayor of Calais, said she has been given word by the ministry of interior that the northern part of the sprawling Jungle camp on the outskirts of Calais will be evacuated.

“It is absolutely urgent for this town, its people and its businesses,” said Bouchart when asked about the dismantling of The Jungle.

"We cannot wait any longer, we need to know as soon as possible how the Jungle will be cleared," she added.

The southern part of the Jungle was cleared back in March, with occupants forced to either move into adjacent permanent lodgings in shipping containers or accept to be moved to "welcome centres" in other parts of France while they apply for asylum.

(AFP)

However in reality many of those displaced simply shifted their tents to the northern part of the camp, which has become increasingly cramped, or set up new camps in the area.

Local authorities estimate there are around 4,500 migrants left in the Jungle camp.

The local prefecture has preferred not to comment on the mayor's statement, but it has long been expected that authorities will try to close the makeshift camp where migrants and refugees live in terrible conditions.

"An unsanitary camp is not a long term project," said the prefecture.

"It is not an end in itself and that is why the southern part was dismantled," said the prefecture.

Aid groups insist however that the camp should remain in place until the government has come up with a viable, humanitarian option for the thousands who would affected.

Dismantling the camp will no doubt raise more questions about how France will house the displaced.

When the southern part of the Jungle was cleared it lead to violence while another knock on effect was that migrants spread out to other northern ports along the Channel coast in the hope of finding an easier passage to the UK.

“The methodology for dismantling the camp is in the process of being refined,” said Mayor Bouchart.

The government has not said whether it plans to increase the number of lodgings in the shipping containers if the Jungle is eventually cleared.

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