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French authorities destroy the last of Calais 'Jungle'

The last makeshift structures have been razed in the so-called "Jungle" camp near Calais, officials said. At the same time, workers started clearing off a street near a similar camp in Paris.

The week-long efforts to clear up the "Jungle" were completed in Calais on Monday, according to the authorities. Only three buildings, two mosques and a church, were left standing out of consideration to some 1,500 unaccompanied minors still living in a container center near camp grounds.

Watch video 01:42

My picture of the week | Smoke over the Calais 'Jungle' camp

In previous days, French officials evacuated some 6,000 people out of the camp and moved them to hundreds of accommodation centers across the country.

The sprawling camp at one point held a total of 10,000 migrants from Africa and the Middle East. Most of them chose Calais for the chance to stowaway on trucks or trains leading to the UK, and dozens of them reportedly died while trying to sneak through the 50-kilometer (31-mile) underground tunnel.

Paris has repeatedly pressured London to take in youths living in the camp.

Paris camp next on the agenda

Also on Monday, police in riot gear were checking asylum seekers' papers in Paris amid signals that a similar camp in the capital would also be cleared soon. The improvised settlement near the subway station Stalingrad currently houses around 3,000 people.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote to Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on the same day, warning of the "dramatic humanitarian and sanitary situation" in the northeast of the city.

Flüchtlinge aus Calais in der Nähe der Stalingrad Metro Station in Paris (Reuters/C. Platiau )

Some migrants from Calais fled to the Paris camp after the evacuation

Hidalgo's deputy Ian Brossat told France Info radio on Monday that the Stalingrad camp was a "disgrace to the country" and that it had to be dismantled. Paris police have run thirty separate operations to clear camps around the city since mid-2015, he added.

"We want to escape from this vicious cycle between encampment and evacuation and evacuation to new encampment," he said.

Workers with an earth mover started removing tents and mattresses from a street near the Paris camp on Monday.

 

dj/kl (dpa, AFP)

 

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