Calais 'Jungle' refugee camp goes up in flames


Multiple reports on social media, which have been picked up by mainstream media, detail a blaze which broke out Friday night at a refugee camp in Calais, which houses roughly 6,000 migrants and refugees, mainly men, from Syria and North Africa.

CALAIS - Reports of a massive fire at a prominent refugee camp in Calais, France, surfaced on social media on Friday night amid specualtion of the veracity of the incident.

The fire reportedly broke out in the so-called "Jungle" camp just hours after the deadly Paris terror attacks.



The cause of the fire has not yet officially been ascertained, nor if there is any link to the coordinated attacks in the capital city.

But word on social media is that it may have been started by a candle.



It is also not clear if there were any fatalities in the blaze, but latest reportes only referred to a few minor injuries, while all inhabitants had been evacuated.





My Afghan brother Akram here in the Calais Jungle: "The attack in Paris yesterday it was horrible ... This is not right...

Posted by Caroline Gregory on Saturday, November 14, 2015



Residents in Calais said on Thursday (November 12) they felt uneasy about the growing numbers of migrants living in the town&39;s makeshift camp, following several violent clashes with police.

Almost 6,000 refugees and economic migrants, largely from war-torn countries including Syria and Iraq, are now living in the slum with limited access to food, water and adequate shelter.

The influx of migrants has prompted some Calais residents to try to leave the area.

Calais has long been an immigration flashpoint but in the past year has become part of a wider pan-European crisis, with states struggling to agree on how to handle inflows of people fleeing conflicts or poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

EU leaders on Thursday met with African and Middle Eastern counterparts at a summit in Malta to discuss how to handle unprecedented refugee and migrant flows.



Meanwhile, two weeks ago, a French court ordered the authorities to build new toilets and water standpipes at the makeshift camp in Calais where thousands of migrants are living, hoping to reach Britain.

This followed comments by a lawyer on Tuesday 3 November that the French state "failed to meet its obligations" at the Calais &39;jungle&39;.

Conditions around the tents and shanties, where some 6,000 migrants live in the dunes in what has become known as the "jungle" are at times squalid, with the stench of human excrement and bonfires hanging in the air.

(Exiles in the the so-called &39;Jungle&39; camp in Calais live in dire conditions, despite the efforts of non-profit organizations on site and local charitable initiatives. Image: Fred Ullmann/MSF)

Outraged at the living standards, medical charity Medecins du Monde and Secours Catholique, part of the Catholic charity Caritas, brought a lawsuit at the Lille administrative court - with a small group of migrants from Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria - to demand improvements.

In the referral order, the court said the Calais region, in northwestern France, would have to put in place emergency measures such as a garbage collection system as well as the water taps and toilets within eight days.





(In this Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 photo migrants cook food near a huge pile of rubbish inside France’s biggest refugee camp near Calais, northern France. Image: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

- Additional reporting eNCA