CALAIS (France) (Sputnik) — French authorities are implementing the final steps in order to close the so-called Jungle migrant camp in the country's northern city of Calais and to resettle its inhabitants to the facilities across the country.
The resettlement of the camp, which started earlier in the day, is expected to last for up to a week. Local authorities separate the residents of the camp, who have decided to move away, into four groups, namely: men, unaccompanied children, families and disadvantaged people. After the separation, the migrants would be sent to the migration centers across the country.
Thousands of migrants from Sudan, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria have been living in the refugee camp for months in hopes of reaching the United Kingdom. However, neither London was very enthusiastic about the prospects to accept thousands of the camp residents, nor the citizens of Calais were satisfied with the neighborhood.
BURGHERS OF CALAIS
The move of the authorities has been welcomed by the local residents, who have expected the closure of the camp for quite a long time.
"Of course, our life will be more calm now. But it is not clear, how long the resettlement will last. It can take a lot of time to take all the migrants away, but it is good that the process has started. We have dreamed about it for so long," Christophe, a resident of Calais, who lived in the city for more than 30 years, told RIA Novosti.
Meanwhile, the camp's residents continued their ordinary life even during the weekend ahead of the resettlement. Someone played football, someone cooked food and someone received free clothes sent to the "Jungle" by volunteers.
"I have come from Ireland and I help the L'auberge des migrants. Why have I come? People suffer here, they need help, and I have decided to help them," a man standing near the car with clothes said.
On the eve of the first day of relocation, the dwellers of "the Jungle" were cheerful and showed affection, sometimes very excessive, to women in the vicinity of the camp.
The first migrants, who wanted to leave the camp, started to come to the point of departure long before the first bus left the area at 8 a.m. local time (09:00 GMT). Many dwellers carried all their staff, while one refugee, who arrived in France from the Sudanese Darfur, came only with one bag with two pictures in it.
"I am leaving, because the camp will be closed. I have nothing left, only these two paintings. My friend, I can even call him my brother, has presented them to me. He said that they will be as a memento for me. Because I am alone. Alone at all! Mother, father, sister — I saw their deaths with my own eyes, there, at home," the man said and exploded with a bitter laughter.
One more resident came to the point of departure in the morning in order to get a comfortable seat in the bus.
"I have decided to leave, because there is no sense to stay there. I have come early, in order to have a seat in the bus, because there are a lot of us," he said.
According to Christian Salome, the head of L'auberge des migrants, former residents of the camp, who have decided to leave it on their own, are hiding in the vicinity of the city and will be found sooner or later.
Clodine, from the Salam charity, told RIA Novosti that the organization of the resettlement was at a very high level.
Meanwhile, the buses continue to depart from the camp, taking its former inhabitants, hoping for a peaceful and wealthy future, to the towns and cities across France and making Calais a bit more peaceful place itself.