The residents of the city of Calais, France are ready to breath a collective sigh of relief. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said French authorities will be knocking down the remaining half of the migrants jungle camp “as quickly as possible. Townspeople are doubtful and struggling to cope with a new wave of arrivals this week.
In February and March authorities dismantled the southern half of the camp, where thousands of migrants have massed, trying to make their way to Britain.
About 7,000 migrants are living in the remaining northern half of the camp, up from 4,500 in June, according to local authorities, although humanitarian groups put the number closer to 9,000.
“I want the closure of the camp as quickly as possible,” Cazeneuve told reporters, saying it would be done methodically.
Cazeneuve promised thousands of new shelters and welcome centers would be built to accommodate migrants. He also committed to an increase in the number of police officers assigned to the region, to help manage the crisis.
Calais’ mayor, Natacha Bouchart, told reporters she had received assurances after meeting Cazeneuve that the camp would be dismantled all at once, although he had given no time frame.
Migrants’ efforts to force their way through the Channel Tunnel and attacks on trucks, cars and their passengers have disrupted traffic between France and Britain and forced French police to maintain a large deployment in the area.