More migrants set to leave Calais refugee camp

Updated: 

More Calais refugees and migrants are set to join the thousands who left The Jungle camp on Monday as the authorities prepare to dismantle the squalid settlement.

About 2,000 camp residents, including around 300 minors, were thought to have passed through the registration centre on the fringe of the camp on Monday, according to the French Interior Ministry.

Crowds carrying rucksacks, holdalls and wheeled bags, many with scarves over their faces, queued from sunrise to sunset to register for accommodation centres after being told they must leave the camp or risk arrest and deportation.

Calais
(Matt Dunham/AP/PA)

People in line said they had no idea where they were going but many seemed resigned to leaving the camp, where demolition work is expected to begin later.

The Care4Calais refugee crisis charity supplied people with thousands of rucksacks over the weekend and worked to prepare them psychologically for Monday's mass eviction.

While small scuffles broke out and punches were thrown, most people waited patiently, crammed inside the barriers, which armed riot police then widened to give them more space.

Calais
(Thibault Camus/AP/PA)

The general atmosphere was less volatile than after-dark scenes at the weekend when violent clashes saw camp residents throwing stones at riot police on the perimeter, who fought back by firing tear gas.

Around 1,250 police have been drafted in to ensure the eviction runs smoothly, an officer on the ground said.

Migrants and refugees who travel to reception centres have been told they will have to claim asylum in France within a set period of time or face deportation.

Those who pass through the registration centre are being sorted into groups of families, minors, vulnerable or ill people and others travelling alone.

Calais
(Thibault Camus/AP/PA)

Aid workers have advised refugees and migrants to register for the buses together as they believe this will give certain groups of friends or communities the best chance of not being separated.

A further 85 buses are expected to arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday, with officials saying the entire operation will last at least a week.

Unaccompanied minors are the only group permitted to stay in Calais, where they are being taken to shipping containers with bunk beds in a secure area of the camp.

Calais
(Thibault Camus/AP/PA)

The transfer of vulnerable children to the UK has been temporarily halted while authorities work to clear the camp.

The charity Help Refugees said the "chaotic set-up" had meant minors already living in the containers had been forced to vacate them and register at the warehouse only to be sent straight back after, which was "extremely distressing and confusing" for them.

There are about 900 unaccompanied minors in the camp.