Monday morning brought the beginning of the end for the Jungle in #calais. While many will welcome its closure, the 12,000 #refugees leaving the camp face further uncertainty as they file onto 60 French government buses heading to accommodation centres across #France. Reports this morning on Twitter indicate that the organisation of the camp's evacuation has been minimal, with migrants facing long queues, minimal information and undignified treatment.
Long queues and no information
The demolition of the Calais 'Jungle' is underway, but with no clear indication of a plan for resettling its inhabitants. Following clashes overnight, refugees now face long and slow queues as they head onto the buses that will take them away from the camp. Francois Hollande has said the refugees staying in France will be moved to 140 "reception centres" throughout the country, yet the refugees on the ground in Calais seem unaware of where they are going to end up.Aid workers on the ground are most concerned about the lack of information being given to unaccompanied minors. Charity 'Refugee Info Bus' has been live on Twitter from the ground in Calais, observing, "People are queuing with uncertainty, there has been no information about where they are going. Donated rucksacks are all they have."
In the UK, Various news sources on Saturday reported that despite the well-publicised warnings from the French government the refugee camp in Calais was to be closed, the Home Office decided not to act on plans created and agreed by local councils to adequately house child refugees upon entering Britain. Following these reports, refugees with family in the UK have been anxious about the situation on the other side of the channel and the prospect of reuniting with relatives.
Dehumanisation at every turn
This morning began with police in riot helmets and buses with plastic seat covers, concerning some that the attitude towards the Calais refugees was inappropriate and undignified. One one refugee remarked, "We may live in the Jungle, but we are not animals.
Busses headed to accommodation centres all have plastic protective seat covers.— Refugee Info Bus (@RefugeeInfoBus) October 24, 2016
"We may live in the Jungle, but we are not animals"
The presence of police in riot gear this morning sparked unease in a place infamous for its well-documented inhumane conditions and human rights abuses. The police have since removed riot helmets, but the queues and confusion seem set to last a lot longer.