French authorities have revealed a “spectacular” rise in the number of migrants living in Calais as they wait to illegally enter the UK, increasing by 53 per cent in just two months.
In June 2016, an official census reported 4,480 people in the so-called “jungle” camp, and by the middle of August, authorities counted more than 6,900 people there.
However, earlier this month, two local humanitarian aid groups took their own census, which counted more than 9,100 people, France24 reports.
The population of the camp is at its highest since French authorities agreed to “demolish” parts of it six months ago, claiming their goal was to reduce the number of camp inhabitants to about 1,500.
They promised to clear well over half the camp, leaving primarily shops and “community buildings” such as the mosque standing. “Around 5.5 hectares out of the 7.5 that are to be dismantled are now cleared,” a spokesman said in March.
However, in May it was reported that the promised clearance displaced just ten per cent of the migrants living there, and the numbers quickly began to rise again.
Following the attempted clearance, a new migrant village sprung up in nearby Grande-Synthe by the coastal city of Dunkirk, after a non-governmental organisation and a local mayor ignored national law to construct the accommodation.
In March, Home Office figures revealed that the number of failed attempts by illegal migrants to enter Britain via European ports and the channel tunnel more than tripled in the past twelve months.
Stronger security has been in place in Calais since migrants attempted to storm the tunnel in June, causing huge delays and traffic jams in France and Southern England.
The higher fences have made crossing much more difficult, meaning migrants wanting to travel to the UK are stuck in France for longer periods.
Clandestine attempts to enter the UK have become increasingly violent, with cars and lorries now routinely attacked and damaged by migrants as they pass through the port.