2,000 Refugees Given Just Three Days To Leave Residences

| by Diana Kruzman
Calais Camp.Calais Camp.

Refugees living in the informal Jungle camp in Calais, France have three days to leave before their shelters are bulldozed, according to the U.K. aid organization Help Refugees.

On Jan. 11, the French government informed camp residents and aid workers of plans to bulldoze a large section -- approximately one third -- of the camp. The area that contains 500 shelters with as many as 2,000 refugees, including more than 300 women and 60 children.

The refugees have been told to move to a specially built facility nearby, but the new complex “resembles a prison” and has no communal areas, according to The Guardian.

Refugees taking shelter in the Jungle camp had until the end of Jan. 13 to relocate. Help Refugees stated that this would only allow its workers to move one out of every 10 people in that part of the camp. The organization said the deadline does not allow enough time to supply everyone in need with food and water.

Following the release of this information, representatives from several organizations on the ground, including ACTED and L’Auberge des Migrants, entered into negotiations with the French government, asking for more time to properly relocate the refugees.

Help Refugees has called for volunteers to help with the relocation process at the Calais camp and asked for donations of tents, sleeping bags and blankets while negotiations remain ongoing.

On Jan. 12, residents of the Jungle camp held a meeting and declared plans to peacefully resist the forced relocation.

"We, the united people of the Jungle, Calais, respectfully decline the demands of the French government with regards to reducing the size of the Jungle,” camp leaders said in a statement. “We have decided to remain where we are and will peacefully resist the government’s plans to destroy our homes.”

The Calais Jungle camp is used by up to 5,000 migrants as a base from which to enter the U.K. through the Channel Tunnel, according to The Guardian. Refugees fear relocation would force them to seek asylum in France instead of moving on to the U.K.

Sources: The Independent, The Guardian, Help Refugees / Photo credit: Help Refugees