France’s much touted clearance of The Jungle migrant camp near Calais was a damp squib, survey figures have revealed.
Just one in ten migrants were moved on by the bulldozers last February. Numbers are now steadily climbing and are set to top previous peak figures by next month.
Migrant rights groups made much of the eviction at the time, with charity Help Refugees commenting: “We are shocked that this verdict will strip refugees of their homes once again without adequate alternative provisions.
“Our census revealed 3455 refugees will be evicted and it was stated in court that only 1156 alternative places are currently available across France”.
But Help Refugees, which has been conducting regular surveys of the residents, has found that in the event, just 551 migrants were moved on by the eviction. Since then numbers have been creeping back up, and are expected to reach 5,500 by next month, higher than the peak figure of 5497 reached pre-eviction.
Two thirds of the current residents are again living in unauthorised tents, against just one in three who are housed in the official camp. A further 400 women and children are housed in a separate women’s refuge.
The research shows that some of the new arrivals are travelling to the camp from smaller satellite sites around France in a bid to make it on to the UK, while others have come from further afield, travelling directly from their country of origin.
It also reveals a shift in migration patterns through Europe, as migrants are now bypassing the Balkans, where the path is increasingly blocked by governments closing borders, opting instead to cross the Mediterranean from “Northern Africa” – likely Libya where Islamic State is increasing its presence – to Italy in order to move easily northwards through the borderless Schengen Area.
And far from being the Syrian refugees that liberal groups make them out to be, the majority, 32 percent, are from Afghanistan, while a further 24 percent are Sudanese.
UK Independence Party MEP Mike Hookem travelled repeatedly to Calais during the height of the Calais crisis last year to see the situation on the ground for himself. Commenting on the survey results, he told Breitbart London that bulldozing The Jungle was never alone going to deter migrants determined to get to the UK.
“The clearing of the jungle was never going to be enough to stop the migrant crisis; only action stopping migrants getting into the EU and a process of returning people who are not genuine refugees will do that,” he said.
“And as the numbers in Calais keep rising so do the numbers in other ports. These people have paid thousands to people traffickers to get to the U.K. and a demolished shack will not make them change their mind.”
The survey has also shed light on how many migrant children are living in the camp, revealing a total of 586 minors currently living in The Jungle, 74 percent of whom are unaccompanied. The average age of the children is 13.9 years old.
All of the unaccompanied children are now eligible for rehoming in the UK under a Lords amendment passed by members of Parliament last month.
Campaigners pushing for the amendment, an initial draft of which called for 3,000 unaccompanied migrant children to be taken in, used language which suggested there were 3,000 Syrian children sitting in Calais waiting for a home in the UK.
In fact, the survey’s figures reveal that just six percent of migrants at the camp are from Syria, a figure which is likely to hold true for minors as well as adults. That suggests that just 35 Syrian minors are living in The Jungle, hoping for passage to the UK.
Calais has been beset by violence and social upset for much of the past year as the migrant crisis took a grip on the French port town. Haulage firms have been hit hard, forced to pay fines for every migrant found in their vehicles, while their drivers face violent intimidation by those same migrants seeking passage.
In February, in response to public outcry, the French authorities moved into bulldoze the southern section of The Jungle migrant camp on the outskirts of the port, clearing acres of tents. The northern side, which contains amenities including a mosque, shops and even a theatre was spared; the area also contains purpose built accommodation replete with electricity, dry beds and running water.
In response, the migrants reacted by burning The Jungle to the ground in protest.