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Calais “jungle” made into bare earth

Dramatic aerial photographs show the extent of demolition at the Jungle camp in Calais, where thousands of migrants had been living.

A judge ordered many could be evicted last month, with bulldozers leaving only the area where there is a makeshift school, churches and a mosque. Hundreds of temporary homes were removed, with the authorities putting up others made from heated shipping containers which people could apply to take.

They were only able to house around 1,500 people, however. Most of the migrants living at the camp were from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa, hoping to reach Britain to reunite with family members or because they had some grasp of English. The camp had become a growing concern with squalid conditions, crime and cramped conditions cited as a reason something had to be done.

Activists had appealed against the evictions, saying people living there had already lost almost everything. Human rights groups and charities had attempted to block the clearance in a last minute legal action, but on 25 February a court in Lille rejected their appeal and gave permission.

Most of those at the camp were living in squalor. Doctors working there describing conditions as ‘worse than a war zone’ people sleeping in tents surrounded by raw sewage, stagnant water and mud. As the flattening took place the most vulnerable people living there were offered spaces in the new shipping containers, but many shunned them describing them as ‘like a prison’ and complaining that all those who apply have to supply their palm prints.

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