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Jungle migrants await last-minute ruling on eviction

Published 23/02/2016

Hundreds of migrants and refugees at the Jungle camp are facing eviction
Hundreds of migrants and refugees at the Jungle camp are facing eviction

Thousands of migrants and refugees face eviction from their homes in France's Jungle camp unless a judge gives them a last-minute reprieve, an aid charity has warned.

French state authorities last week gave those living in the southern part of the sprawling site near Calais until 8pm local time (7pm GMT) on Tuesday to quit their makeshift homes or face bulldozers being sent in.

Refugee organisations are pinning their hopes on a court hearing due to take place in Lille in the afternoon.

A French judge is also reportedly visiting the Jungle to see conditions before making a ruling on whether the eviction should go ahead.

Up to 1,000 people who have fled war, poverty and persecution are reported to be affected by the plans, but aid workers say the figure could be much higher.

The Help Refugees charity said it carried out its own analysis showing there were 3,455 people living in the affected part of the Jungle who faced being "evicted from their homes in the midst of winter, without sufficient alternative accommodation on offer".

A spokeswoman said: "Our concerns remain with welfare of the unaccompanied minors.

"We have had no assurances from the French authorities that they will conduct assessments to determine best interests of these children and ensure proper safeguarding is in place before removing them from the camp and the communities they know and trust.

"We urge them to delay the demolition of the southern section of the camp until these needs are met ... our concerns will be heard at the court in Lille."

At the weekend actor Jude Law and singer Tom Odell were among famous faces who took to the stage at the camp in Calais to raise the plight of refugees.

They were joined by actress Juliet Stevenson and comedian Shappi Khorsandi at the Letters Live event.

It came after 145 celebrities including Idris Elba, Helena Bonham Carter and Benedict Cumberbatch wrote an open letter calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to help save children based there.

They want the Government to step in and allow unaccompanied children living in the camp to be reunited with their families in the UK.

Meanwhile, Eurotunnel has asked the British and French governments to reimburse it £22 million (29 million euros) for lost revenue during the cross-Channel migrant crisis.

The Chunnel operator faced heavy disruption to its services last summer as migrants based at the Jungle made repeated bids to reach Britain.

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