France to evict almost 1,000 migrants from 'jungle' near Calais

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Migrant Attacks Investigated in France

PARIS, Feb 12 (Reuters) - France plans to close part of a camp for migrants near Calais on its northern Channel coast within a week, forcing almost 1,000 people to leave, officials said on Friday.

Thousands of people fleeing poverty and war have converged at a camp near Calais called the "jungle" over the past year in hopes of making it to Britain where lower unemployment, the English language and fewer identity checks are still seen as big draws.

SEE ALSO: Migrants build society in French camp they call 'The Jungle'

French authorities said they would offer 750 migrants, many from Africa and the Middle East, spaces in a state-run shelter made of converted shipping containers, opened last month. The south part of the camp will then be flattened in a week's time.

The containers, designed to accommodate up to 1,500 people, are equipped with bunk beds, heaters and windows but lack toilets and showers. Many refugees told Reuters they were reluctant to move there because access is controlled by handprint technology.

Calais migrants prepare for winter:

22 PHOTOS
NTP: Migrants prepare for winter, fight for life in Calais
See Gallery
France to evict almost 1,000 migrants from 'jungle' near Calais
In this Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 photo, Iraqi Harim Najmadin, left, his wife Kurde and their 18 month old son Rat sit inside their selfmade shelter at the migrant camp near Calais, northern France. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 photo customers stand in front of a makeshift Afghan shop inside the migrants camp in Calais, northern France. Dozens of wooden-framed shops and restaurants, mostly Afghan, stock shelves with supplies bought at Calais supermarkets. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 file photo, a woman stands at the entrance of a makeshift church of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church at the migrant camp near Calais, northern France. Godâs house has many mansions in the migrant camp at Calais, whose residents brighten their often bleak existence by attending religious services organized in tents and shacks. In so doing, they have set aside ethno-religious enmities that often fuel bloodshed in their homelands. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 file photo, a migrant walks behind a destroyed tent at migrant camp near Calais, northern France. Networks of newly constructed 15-foot-high (5-meter-high) razor-topped fences and boosted police patrols defeat many migrants hoping to cross the English Channel. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 photo, hundreds of tents stand between bushes in Franceâs biggest refugee camp near Calais, northern France. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Friday, Nov. 7, 2015 photo, migrants reach out for blankets and sleeping bags delivered by the aid organization LâAuberge des Migrants at the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. Many of the estimated 6,000 residents spend hours queuing for six-minute showers and one daily meal at a government-funded facility on the campâs Atlantic-facing edge. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 photo migrants help a Doctors Without Borders collection crew to take way garbage at the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. Residents of Franceâs biggest refugee camp near the English Channel port of Calais must combat hunger, filth and illness in a tent village as they scramble to build hard roofs for the winter. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 photo a makeshift cooking space is placed inside the shelter of a Sudanese refugee inside the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. Many of the estimated 6,000 residents spend hours queuing for six-minute showers and one daily meal at a government-funded facility on the campâs Atlantic-facing edge. Elsewhere, campers stand in mud to collect cold water from batteries of hose-fed taps and burn tree branches to cook and boil water, turning the air acrid with smoke. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 photo, a man walks beside a decomposing poster reading 'The jungle is not for us, the jungle is for animals' fixed by a Sudanese refugee at a tent, inside the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 photo, a four-year-old Eritrean girl looks from out of a shelter at the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. Residents of Franceâs biggest refugee camp near the English Channel port of Calais must combat hunger, filth and illness in a tent village as they scramble to build hard roofs for the winter. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 photo, Migrants burn garbage near their tents at the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. Residents of Franceâs biggest refugee camp near the English Channel port of Calais must combat hunger, filth and illness in a tent village as they scramble to build hard roofs for the winter. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 photo, migrants gather at the city sign of Calais near the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 photo migrant make their way through mud to enter public toilets inside, the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 photo, a migrants stand near public toilets behind a pile of garbage inside the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. Many of the estimated 6,000 residents spend hours queuing for six-minute showers and one daily meal at a government-funded facility on the campâs Atlantic-facing edge. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 photo, a migrant boy walks between tents inside the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 photo, a migrant makes a fire for making tea inside the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. Many of the estimated 6,000 residents spend hours queuing for six-minute showers and one daily meal at a government-funded facility on the campâs Atlantic-facing edge. Elsewhere, campers stand in mud to collect cold water from batteries of hose-fed taps and burn tree branches to cook and boil water, turning the air acrid with smoke. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 photo, human excrement litters both sides of a pathway through the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. Most of the approximately 50 portable toilets are unspeakably foul. A French court this month ordered Calais to double the toilets and taps and take command of garbage collection. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, file photo, tents and waste are reflected in a puddle inside the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. Residents of Franceâs biggest refugee camp near the English Channel port of Calais must combat hunger, filth and illness in a tent village as they scramble to build hard roofs for the winter. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 file photo migrants stand at a fence preventing them from reaching a highway beside the migrant camp near Calais, northern France. Residents of Franceâs biggest refugee camp near the English Channel port of Calais must combat hunger, filth and illness in a tent village as they scramble to build hard roofs for the winter. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 photo, a migrant woman walks through the bushes between tents inside the migrants camp near Calais, northern France. Many of the estimated 6,000 residents spend hours queuing for six-minute showers and one daily meal at a government-funded facility on the campâs Atlantic-facing edge. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 file photo a written message is fixed to a tent inside the migrant camp near Calais, northern France. Residents of Franceâs biggest refugee camp near the English Channel port of Calais must combat hunger, filth and illness in a tent village as they scramble to build hard roofs for the winter. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Others would be encouraged to move to other migrant centers in France.

"I hope we don't have to make an eviction by force," Fabienne Buccio, the regional prefect, told Reuters. "The conditions are there for us to do that and flatten part of the camp that gives Calais a bad image."

The decision comes a month after authorities decided to clear a 100-meter (110-yard) strip next to a road that passes above the camp, forcing some 500 to 700 people to move their tents.

An estimated 4,000 migrants now live in the state shelters and in the "jungle." This number had spiked to 6,000 in September and many believe the figure will rise again as the spring approaches.

Incidents involving migrants and the police have surged since last October when security near the Channel Tunnel was reinforced to prevent anybody from entering the Eurotunnel infrastructure.

On Jan. 23, some 200 refugees managed to break into the port of Calais, enabling some of them to board the front deck of a British ferry, after a demonstration of support for migrants.

Banksy's London street art slams Calais' use of tear gas on migrants:

15 PHOTOS
New Banksy artwork in London slams use of tear gas at Calais camp
See Gallery
France to evict almost 1,000 migrants from 'jungle' near Calais
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: A man views a Banksy artwork opposite the French embassy on January 25, 2016 in London, England. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: A woman looks on as a broadcast journalist is filmed scanning the QR code on a Banksy artwork opposite the French embassy on January 25, 2016 in London, England. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: A passer-by takes a photograph of a Banksy artwork opposite the French embassy on January 25, 2016 in London, England. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 25: British people look at new Banksy artwork opposite the French embassy in London, United Kingdom on January 25, 2016. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as tear gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas on Refugees. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: A man views a Banksy artwork opposite the French embassy on January 25, 2016 in London, England. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: A passing cyclist takes a photograph of a Banksy artwork opposite the French embassy on January 25, 2016 in London, England. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: A Banksy artwork is created opposite the French embassy on January 25, 2016 in London, England. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: People photograph a Banksy artwork opposite the French embassy on January 25, 2016 in London, England. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Workmen watch the media photograph a new artwork by British artist Banksy opposite the French Embassy, in London, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. The artwork depicts the young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears streaming from her eyes as a can of CS gas lies beneath her. The work is criticising the use of teargas in the refugee camp in Calais. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 25: A new Banksy artwork is seen opposite the French embassy in London, United Kingdom on January 25, 2016. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as tear gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas on Refugees. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: Builders remove a sheet of wood covering a Banksy artwork moments after being told to take it down from the building opposite the French embassy on January 25, 2016 in London, England. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: A woman walks past plywood hoarding covering a Banksy artwork opposite the French embassy on January 25, 2016 in London, England. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: The QR code of a Banksy artwork is displayed opposite the French embassy on January 25, 2016 in London, England. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: A woman holds a mobile phone showing the video that is linked from a QR code on a Banksy artwork opposite the French embassy on January 25, 2016 in London, England. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticises the use of teargas in the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Related news:
Street artist Banksy takes swipe at France on migrant crisis
Glimmers of civilization as Calais migrants brace for winter
Migrants break into Channel Tunnel, rail services disrupted

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners