Fires Set in Closing Migrant Camp 10/26 07:37
CALAIS, France (AP) -- Large portions of the makeshift refugee camp known as
"the jungle" went up in flames Wednesday, as departing migrants set fire to
shelters and tents before police moved in to relocate them out of northern
Hundreds of French police have swooped into the camp near the city of
Calais, where thousands fleeing war and poverty have lived in squalor as they
waited for a chance to sneak across the English Channel into Britain. Police
are moving migrants to reception centers around France where they can seek
Migrants have flocked to the Calais region for decades, but the camp has
grown as Europe's migrant crisis expanded. As it evolved into a massive slum
supported by aid groups, France finally decided to shut it down.
As the reality of the mass evacuation took hold, fearful migrants from
Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Syria and Pakistan braced for a new reality. Some
pledged to just keep moving.
"This jungle is no good," said Muhammad Afridi, 20, from Pakistan. "We go to
a new jungle."
The main alley through the camp near the city of Calais burned overnight,
leaving skeleton-like hulks on either side of the road. Firefighters delved
into the camp's deepest recesses, trying to prevent a massive conflagration.
Gas canisters popped as they exploded in the heat. One aid group's truck
burst into flames.
Migrants stood and watched. Some laughed.
Steve Barbet, a spokesman for the regional authorities, said one migrant was
hospitalized. About 100 migrants were evacuated.
The camp once housed 6,300 migrants, according to authorities, but aid
groups said the number was much higher.