Thursday, November 3, 2016

Last of ‘Jungle’ children relocated

French authorities on Wednesday started moving out the remaining 1,500 unaccompanied children living next to the razed "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais to shelters around the country.


A first bus carrying 43 minors left the area around 8:30 am for the southwest, rapidly followed by a second. More than 30 buses have been deployed to transfer the minors to 60 centers nationwide.

The dismantling of the informal part of the camp that once housed up to 10,000 migrants, most of whom hoped to reach Britain, was completed on Monday night.

Over 4,000 adults who had been living in tents and shacks - mainly Afghans, Eritreans and Sudanese - were moved to reception centers across France last week. That left nearly 1,500 underage migrants, who stayed behind in a secure container park run by an NGO, and around 400 women and children living in a separate care facility nearby.

The plight of the unaccompanied children has been the subject of testy exchanges between France and Britain.

France is hoping that Britain will take in most of the unaccompanied minors who traveled alone across the Mediterranean and up through Europe, in the hope of stowing away on trucks crossing the Channel to England. After initially dragging its heels on the issue, Britain in mid-October sped up the transfer of child refugees.

In the past two weeks it has taken in around 300 children with family or contacts across the Channel and promised to take hundreds more.

Some aid agencies have warned that scattering the children around France could hold up that process.

French authorities have assured that the minors will still be able to pursue their dream of Britain from the far-flung shelters to which they are sent.

"No further transfer applications will be handled in Calais," an official document circulated among the teens Tuesday read.
 AFP/eletos.gr
2/11/16

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