What does the future hold for the Calais Jungle camp's residents?


The Jungle migrant camp in Calais will be closed by the end of the year, French President Francois Hollande has said.

Here, we answer key questions on the camp and the future of its residents:

What is the Jungle camp?

Women enter a church in the camp (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The sprawling camp, which has been nicknamed the "Jungle" by residents, is based in Calais, northern France, around nine miles from the Channel Tunnel. It has become a home for thousands of refugees and migrants hoping to seek asylum in the UK.

What is the history of the camp?

Day-to-day life in the camp (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The Sangatte refugee camp was opened in Calais in 1999, but was closed between 2001 and 2002 by Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then minister of interior. The closure failed to stem the flow of arrivals and people continued to settle and build makeshift camps around the port town. The population of the Jungle has soared in recent years.

How many people live there?

Calais residents have been campaigning for the camp to be closed (Chris Radburn/PA)

Estimates vary. While authorities put the figure at around 7,000, a census conducted in August by Help Refugees found more than 9,000 people were living there. The figure marked a 29% increase in the population since early July, the charity said.

Where have they come from?

Occupants have staged protests, including sewing lips closed, ahead of the closure (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Many people are believed to be fleeing from countries embroiled in conflict - with reports suggesting Eritrea, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan are among the nations.

Why is the Jungle back in the headlines?

Riot police watch as a shelter burns (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Hollande has announced that the French government is preparing to "completely, definitively" dismantle the Jungle by the end of the year. Half the Calais camp was dismantled in March, but its population is believed to have doubled since then.

What will happen to the people who live in the Jungle?

A restaurant in the camp (Steve Parsons/PA)

The occupants of the camp are set to be moved to reception centres across France. Between 40 and 50 will be held at each centre for up to four months while authorities investigate their cases. Those who do not seek asylum will be deported.

What will the camp's closure mean for child refugees hoping to gain asylum in the UK?

General view of daily life in the Jungle refugee camp

Under EU legislation known as Dublin III, asylum claims must be made in the first safe country a person reaches - but children can have their claim transferred to another country if they have family members living there.

Campaigners have urged the British Government to ensure unaccompanied children are not caught up in the eviction and are removed safely from the camp, so they can be reunited with their families.

How can I help?

orphaned refugee children walking amongst the shelters

Various charities are accepting volunteers, as well as donations. CalAid has an Amazon wishlist filled with items such as waterproof jackets and underwear, and Help Refugees has a page explaining how to donate time, money, goods or food.