26. Oktober 2016 · Kommentare deaktiviert für More Migrants Leave Calais ‘Jungle’ Camp as Demolition Begins · Kategorien: Europa

Quelle: NYTimes 25.10.16


CALAIS, France — Young men with scarves wrapped around their faces to ward off the morning cold and with bags and suitcases in tow continued to trickle out of the migrant camp near the French port of Calais on Tuesday, the second day of a long-awaited operation to clear it out.

Early in the morning, dozens of young people, classified by officials as unaccompanied minors, crowded in front of a temporary processing center set up by the French government to take refugees from Afghanistan, Sudan and other war-torn countries to temporary centers around France. The crowd pushed and jostled briefly with the police, but over all the evacuation remained calm, and the pace appeared to slow.

On Tuesday afternoon, the head of the Pas-de-Calais Prefecture, Fabienne Buccio, told reporters that the “cleaning up” of the camp would start soon, but she acknowledged that some migrants might resist the move.

Soon after Ms. Buccio spoke, cleaning crews wearing fluorescent orange vests and white hard hats arrived on the edge of the camp, along with small bulldozers. The crews promptly set about clearing out a small section of the camp, working their way inward, and throwing dirty blankets and mattresses, discarded furniture, and tarps into a large container for trash.

In the camp itself, some areas were still busy with life, including groups of teenagers playing soccer. But in other sections, the occupants were gone, leaving behind burned structures and trash-strewn floors.

At midday, there was almost no line for single adults to enter the processing center. The prefecture said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that 656 migrants had left by bus, bringing the total number of people bused from the camp to 2,574 this week.

The operation, which started on Monday, is an attempt to get rid of the squalid, makeshift camp that is a maze of wooden shacks and tents crisscrossed by muddy, trash-strewn lanes where 6,000 to 8,000 people had been living, according to recent estimates.

Known as the Jungle, the camp has been a thorn in the side of the French government for years and a symbol of Europe’s struggle to handle the influx of migrants from Africa and the Middle East.

The French government hopes to raze the camp, but aid groups worry that some migrants might put up resistance, especially once the authorities start physically destroying the makeshift shelters that some migrants, despite squalid conditions, had come to see as their homes.

Many still want to reach Britain, but their exact numbers are unclear, and some may have already moved to smaller makeshift camps in the region, according to aid groups.

Ahmad Safai, a 35-year-old from Laghman Province in eastern Afghanistan, said that he had no intention of leaving the Jungle, even after spending five difficult months there.

“I want to go to the U.K.,” he said near the entrance of the camp, in a reference to Britain. “I have my cousins in the U.K., three cousins.”

The French government has deployed more than 1,200 police officers to oversee the clearing out of the camp.

In February, clashes erupted when the authorities razed the southern half of the camp, as migrants set shacks on fire to protest their eviction and threw rocks at police officers in riot gear, who responded with tear gas and water cannons. Several similar fires were started on Tuesday, although they were quickly extinguished.

“It will raise huge tensions in the camp when they start dismantling,” said Samuel Hanryon, a spokesman for Doctors Without Borders, one of the groups working in the camp.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday that 400 unaccompanied minors had been evacuated from the camp and placed in a state-run shelter made of refurbished containers in the Jungle. On Tuesday, the Pas-de-Calais prefecture said 139 additional minors had been similarly sheltered.

The presence of about 1,300 unaccompanied minors in the camp was one of the most worrying issues for the government before the dismantling.

But Mr. Cazeneuve said that the British authorities had agreed to take in all minors with established family ties in Britain, and had even pledged to look into the cases of unaccompanied minors “who do not have family ties” there but who have a “superior interest” in going to Britain.

Mr. Cazeneuve also said that the British authorities had pledged to give France an additional 40 million euros, or about $43.5 million, in aid. Such aid has mainly gone for the security measures — high fences, barbed wire and cameras — to make it harder for migrants to reach Britain.

Still, aid groups worry that dismantling the Jungle will do little to stem the flow of migrants.

“What’s going to happen for the thousands of minors who are going to continue to arrive?” Mr. Hanryon said. “As long as you have the same migratory flows, and the same migration policies on both sides of the Channel, it will change nothing.”

Not everybody is still harboring hopes of crossing the English Channel. Near the temporary processing center, Hassan Khaled, a 26-year-old from Sudan, said he was eager to start a new life somewhere in France.

“I’ve been there for three months, but it’s not good,” he said of the camp. “It’s not Europe to be in the Jungle. I came here to look for a new life, new people, new civilizations — but when I am in there, I think to myself that I am still in Africa.”

Mr. Khaled, who fled conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan, was sitting on a green suitcase fastened with a thick padlock as he clutched a tattered map of France that someone had given him.

Southern France was of no interest to him — he entered Europe via Italy, and felt he had spent enough time in the south. Instead, he was looking at temporary centers in Brittany, in northwestern France, or possibly in eastern France.

“I’m looking for a new city,” he said.

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