France says that it has completed the clearance of the “Jungle” migrant camp in Calais, three days after it began an operation to demolish it.

The announcement, from a regional official, came with fires still burning in the camp, after blazes were set overnight and in the morning.

The camp has become a key symbol of Europe’s migration crisis, with its residents desperate to reach the UK.

Authorities have been bussing migrants to shelters around France since Monday.

Fabienne Buccio, the prefect of Pas-de-Calais, said: “It’s the end of the Jungle, our mission is over. There are no more migrants in the camp.”


Orientation centre

Five thousand people had been sent to departure points from where they would be taken to reception and orientation centres around the country, she said.

By the evening, she added, 1,500 minors would be in temporary centres – converted shipping containers near the camp. These centres would then stop receiving more people to make sure no more minors arrived in Calais.

The camp had an estimated 6,000-8,000 residents. Coaches have been moving people to centres across France since the operation began.

The BBC’s Simon Jones, who is at the camp, says it is possible a large number have disappeared – either to squat or sleep rough around Calais or go to other towns of their own accord.

The authorities fear they will return to set up camp again once the clearance is over.

More than 1,200 police officers have been deployed for the clearance operation.



Overnight, huts were set on fire on the main street leading into the camp, leaving makeshift shops in ashes. More fires were ignited during the day, but it is not clear who started them.

Ms Buccio told local media it was “a tradition among the migrant population to destroy their homes before leaving”.

However the Calais police commissioner said he had been told by migrants that the fires were started by activists.

Last year more than one million migrants – many fleeing the civil war in Syria – arrived in Europe. Countries struggled to cope and division arose in the EU over how best to deal with resettling people.

An EU-Turkey pact to try to stop migrants crossing to Greece and moves by Balkan nations to close their borders have driven down the number of people using the so-called eastern Mediterranean route.

However, migrants from African countries such as Eritrea and Somalia as well as West African nations such as Nigeria and the Gambia are continuing to attempt the crossing from Libya to Italy.