Edition: English | 中文简体 | 中文繁体 Монгол
Homepage > World Video

France shuts down migrant camp

Reporter: Ahmad Coo 丨 CCTV.com

10-28-2016 10:31 BJT

The so-called jungle is no more. After years of being home to refugees and migrants- the makeshift camp has been shut down by the French government. More than 4,000 people have been moved from the camp to other parts of the country.

France shuts down migrant camp

France shuts down migrant camp

These are scenes refugees and migrants had hoped to avoid in their home countries. But these pictures aren't from their war-torn or economically devastated locales. This is in France.

Known as the 'jungle', this migrant camp in Calais had housed thousands of asylum seekers. Now, it's mostly charred remains of what used to be a tent city.

For decades, many migrants sought refuge in the jungle. But the fighting in Syria eventually led many to flee to Calais- and eventually led to the camp's explosive growth. This year, France decided to finally shut down the camp to contain the sprawl.

"An incredible human experience has taken place within this camp, with all its different communities. But we are turning the page now, and it is a positive page because these people are going to be welcomed in France and are going to be able to start a new life," said Fabienne Buccio, Calais Regional Prefect.

But in what French authorities called a 'tradition'- many of the jungle's residents set fire to their old homes. While some welcomed the closing of the camp, the way it was cleared brought up some painful memories for others.

"I don't like this. Like this comes in my head my city like this every time. It's a problem with the Taliban. Police fighting with them. My city, I see it like this," said Rafiullah Khan, Afghan migrant.

Almost all of the jungle's former occupants have been- or are in the process- of being relocated. Some have been moved to some small towns in France. While the migrants are relieved to have left the jungle behind, some are wary of them.

"I'm not reassured because my house is near the holiday resort where the migrants will be housed and where I go past on my morning walks, and I don't know if I'll be able to continue this in the future because I don't feel safe, that's all," said Jacqueline Dieude, local resident.

Most migrants, however, aren't looking to stay in France. Most want to head to the U-K. For one, the country has a better social safety net.

Migrants also want to learn English since they believe it will be easier to find work. Others want to be reunited with family who are in the U-K.

But there are now concerns the closure of the jungle will expose the camps most vulnerable residents to exploitation: the unaccompanied minors.

Now some British activists are urging the government to take in more of the young migrants.

"I think it's absolutely dreadful. I mean obviously it's quite clear what should have happened is that the children should have been made safe first to avoid traffickers going in and getting them like they did the last time," said Liz Sharp, human rights advocate.

But those sentiments may change, especially if hundreds of thousands of migrants continue to flee the violence in their countries and flood into an already tense Europe.

Follow us on

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Instagram

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Wechat