French authorities clearing part of Calais migrant camp

French authorities are working to clear the southern part of a migrant camp near the port city of Calais, looking to complete an expulsion order affecting 800-1,000 people by Tuesday evening.

Local prefect Fabienne Buccio announced the planned clearance last week. An expulsion order released by the prefecture on Friday evening set the deadline by which the section of the camp should be evacuated.

Authorities hope to move migrants and potential asylum seekers - many of whom have been camped in slum-like conditions for months waiting for an opportunity to cross the English Channel and reach Britain - into more permanent accommodation centres.

A 1,500-spot provisional accommodation was opened in mid-January, and 1,200 migrants have moved in.

The prefecture that it would encourage migrants to move into that centre or some 500 additional spots in a "buffer zone," or to move into more permanent accommodations throughout France.

Disruptions to traffic along the highways, where people frequently attempt to jump into vehicles to cross the Channel, rising tension with extremist and anti-migrant movements, and a desire to retain security, hygiene and human dignity were the reasons the prefecture gave for the expulsion order.

There are, by last count, some 3,700 migrants and potential asylum seekers camped near Calais. Last year, Paris and London further secured the border to inhibit illegal crossings, installing barbed wire and deploying police to patrol the areas.

Last update: Sat, 20/02/2016 - 14:02
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