Part of a major refugee camp that housed thousands near the French city of Calais was dismantled Monday in accordance with a recent court order.
Last week, a French judge approved the demolition of the south zone of the camp, which is known as the “Jungle,” after denying nonprofit organizations’ appeal for the eviction to be overturned. The court allowed the destruction of makeshift homes but “the common areas, such as churches, mosques, schools and medical centers, must remain.”
The demolition was ordered by the Calais prefecture. French officials said the camp posed a large security risk to the city and created a drain on police forces who must be stationed near the camp. Many of the migrants hope to reach the United Kingdom. Migrant camps near Calais have been established and eventually shut down on government orders several times since 2002.
According to migrant nonprofit organizations, refugees were “scared” and “confused” when French officials entered the southern area of the camp at 7 a.m., informing occupants they had an hour to evacuate, or be arrested. Fabienne Buccio, head of the Calais prefecture, said about three-quarters of the homes in that area were already evacuated following earlier “encouragement” from French officials.