Unofficial migrant camps are likely to grow in northern France in the wake of next week’s planned demolition of the “Jungle” shanty-town in Calais, British aid volunteers fear.
Bulldozers will move in on the slum on Monday, with the French authorities saying the estimated 6,500 migrants camped there will be relocated to reception centres across France.
But Care4Calais founder Clare Moseley said that following the part-dismantlement of “the Jungle” in February, serious failings were reported at some of the centres migrants were sent to.
She said there was a lack of basic essentials, including access to interpreters and legal advice. And she added: “We are also concerned that unofficial camps in the north of France will now grow.
“These suffer from a severe lack of infrastructure, no running water, toilets or medical facilities, and so where possible we will also direct aid to these areas.”
As France gears up for next year’s presidential election, French president Francois Hollande has appeared keen to adopt a firmer stance and finally close the camp.
It has become a symbol of his government’s failure to tackle Europe’s migrant crisis and a target of criticism from conservative and far-right rivals seeking to unseat him.
Amid reports that migrants may attempt last-ditch bids to cross the English Channel, Kent Police has said it is braced for any fall-out from the demolition.
The force has said it is “monitoring events” in northern France as notices started to go up in the camp alerting migrants to the imminent clearance.
Meanwhile in Kent, a “White Lives Matter” march is planned on Saturday in Margate. A counter-protest by anti-racist locals has also been organised.