CALAIS, France, French officials on Wednesday said the remaining child asylum-seekers in the so-called “Jungle” migrant camp in Calais were being transported out.
The remaining 1,500 migrant children were expected to board buses to be sent to undisclosed reception centers throughout France as the final stage of clearing the migrant camp begins.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuv said all children should be moved out of the camp Wednesday. Officials said the camp should be fully disassembledThursday.
About 30 buses will be used to move out the unaccompanied migrant children. Most migrants living in the Calais camp, estimated to have hosted from 5,000 to 7,000 people, wanted to travel to Britain to seek asylum, but British officials have been reluctant to accept asylum-seekers.
Britain has accepted about 270 migrant children who have family there or who were deemed particularly vulnerable. Earlier this year, the physical size of the camp was decreased by half but the population continued to increase. Reports of violence and worsening conditions also increased.
On Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande called on Britain to take responsibility for the remaining children in Calais. The French government’s plan to disassemble the camp was to divide its resources by establishing reception centers throughout France that would be able to provide assistance more properly.
“It wasn’t easy to create these reception centers. There was some local opposition. But the idea was to split the minors into smaller groups so that they could receive more personalized attention as they pursue applications to go to the U.K., or are helped to be reconnected with family elsewhere in Europe,” Steve Barbet, a spokesman for the Pas-de-Calais regional government, told The Guardian. “Some may decide to stay in France. Others may decide to return to their own countries.”