Sun, Feb 21, 2016 - Page 6 News List

France orders eviction of hundreds from ‘the jungle’

AP, PARIS

Authorities issued an expulsion order on Friday for hundreds of migrants living in a huge swath of the Calais camp in northern France, demanding that they remove their makeshift homes and possessions within four days.

Residents of the southern sector of the camp, known locally as “the jungle,” must clear out by 8pm on Tuesday so it can be razed, according to the order by the state authority for Calais.

Police would remove those who refuse to clear out, the order said. Authorities estimate that 800 to 1,000 refugees and migrants live in that sector, crammed with shops, cafes, mosques and churches. They want the migrants — mainly Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans escaping conflict and Africans fleeing countries with poor human rights records — to move to nearby heated containers or welcome centers around France to reconsider their dreams of reaching Britain on the other side of the English Channel.

The expulsion order came a week after Calais Prefect Fabienne Buccio announced that the southern sector of the 18 hectare camp on the edge of Calais would be razed.

She said those living in the area — the most built-up section of the camp housing a total of around 4,000 migrants — would have a week to move.

Humanitarian groups said many more than 1,000 people live in the southern section.

Eight associations working in the camp, including Doctors of the World, on Thursday sent a protest letter to French Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve contending that alternatives proposed by the state are “very far from answering the needs of the problems encountered” and predicted migrants who refuse them could scatter along the coast.

Cazeneuve countered in a written reply that the evacuation would go ahead “progressively.”

No time limit has been set to clear the area, which has become a mini-slum town.

The order cited a series of problems, from violence by migrants trying to slow traffic to jump on a truck to growing anti-migrant tensions among extreme-right elements, a lack of hygiene and human dignity.

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