The Burning of The Jungle

On Wednesday 26 October 2016, multiple fires broke out, engulfing large neighbourhoods of the makeshift refugee camp known as the Jungle in Calais, France.

It was the first day of the final eviction of the camp that was home to more than 10,000 refugees, around 1,500 of which were minors.

Riot police were used to force an evacuation of the camp, as fires burned out of control. Panicking broke out with some people, as their only belongings burned, including their immigration documents and their chance at asylum.

The inferno burned all day, most of the camp coming under control by sunset. As night fell many refugees returned to the burnt out shell of the camp, to try and salvage any belongings not damaged by the fires.

That night, with nowhere else to go, more than 100 children were forced to sleep out in the open. Volunteers stayed through the night to watch over them and make sure they were safe.

This was the end of the Jungle, a name that represented many camps in many different locations on the east side of Calais town, the closest French port to the UK.

I have covered the growing refugee crisis in the northern port town for ten years and have seen numbers rise from 300 sleeping rough in the streets, to more than 10,000 living in a camp described as not fit for human habitation.

There have been four previous camp evictions since 2009, the French and UK authorities go-to policy to try and make their refugee problem go away. But as one camp was burned and smashed with bulldozers, the eviction policymakers never addressed that one simple question staring them right in the face; where is a person supposed to go when they have nowhere else left to go?

1920X1080 footage © Jason N. Parkinson


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