What is the Calais Jungle and who lives there?


What is the Calais Jungle? 

The Calais Jungle is the nickname given to a migrant shanty town to the east of Calais, a port town in northern France. 

Many of the migrants have fled violence in war-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia.  

Local authorities estimate that there are about 3,700 people living in the Jungle at the moment. Most inhabitants are men.

But charity Help Refugees believes there are nearly 5,500 migrants, including 423 unaccompanied children.   

What is the Calais Jungle eviction? 

Migrants living in the southern side of the camp have been ordered to move their makeshift homes before bulldozers are sent in. 

Evicted residents must either move into refitted shipping containers in the camp or move to another migrant camp in France. 

Help Refugees has raised concerns over the safety of unaccompanied minors if their communities are suddenly destroyed. 

How do migrants get to Britain? 

Many of the migrants at the camp attempt to illegally cross the channel from Calais to England.

Most migrants try to stow away on lorries or trains heading into the Eurotunnel, while others try to board lorries bound for ferries.

The authorities have managed to reduce the number of illegal crossings by boosting security and improving fences in the area.

What is the Calais Jungle like? 

There are poor living conditions in the muddy camp where people shelter from the cold in tarpaulin huts and tents.

Nevertheless many migrants have started put down roots in the camp and have set up makeshift cafes and shops. 

There are also churches, schools, mosques, youth centres and even a theatre. 

In October an independent report by Birmingham University raised concerns over shortcomings in shelter, food supplies, water safety, sanitation and security.  

At the time Leigh Daynes, executive director of Doctors of the World, which supported the study, said: “It is a humanitarian emergency of the first order in one of the world’s most thriving nations.”