Bulldozers to begin demolition work in Calais refugee 'Jungle'

Thousands of people will be be shipped off on buses

Bulldozers to begin demolition work in Calais refugee 'Jungle'

Migrants line-up to register at a processing centre in the makeshift migrant camp known as "the jungle" near Calais, northern France | Image: Matt Dunham AP/Press Association Images

Demolition crews are due to start tearing down the notorious Calais Jungle camp in France, as mass evictions continue for a second day.

Bulldozers are expected to be sent in to the emptying camp to start dismantling the squalid settlement, which has become a symbol of Europe's worst refugee crisis since the Second World War.

As the slum is pulled down around them, thousands of refugees will be shipped off on buses bound for temporary reception centres across France.

Few will know where they are going until moments before boarding.

Work to begin clearing the camp, which was home to between 6,000 and 8,000 refugees, began on Monday.

The first 2,000 migrants, including 300 children, hauled their luggage through the camp's muddy lanes to join crowds of people who queued from dawn until dusk to be registered by French authorities.

They were divided into groups of families, minors, vulnerable or ill people and people travelling alone, before being loaded on dozens of buses under heavy police presence.

Though some small scuffles broke out and punches were thrown, France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the operation proceeded in a generally "calm and orderly manner."

It is the fate hundreds of unaccompanied children, however, that has become a chief concern, with charities warning they could become lost in the chaos of the clearance.

The minors are the only group permitted to remain in the camp. They will be housed in shipping containers in a secure area of the camp where they will wait to be accessed by French and British authorities to decide where they will be sent.

Criticism over speed of transfer

In an eleventh hour gesture, Britain has taken almost 200 teenagers over the last week, either because they have family links here already, or under the Dubs amendment requiring the UK government to give refuge to vulnerable children stranded in Europe.

The London government has faced criticism over the pace of efforts to transfer children with a right to be in the UK.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, the British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "The government has sought every opportunity to expedite the process to transfer children to the UK," adding that officials have interviewed a further 800 children in the camp claiming to have close family in the UK.

She warned however that councils will have to offer further places for lone children as more arrive in the coming weeks.

According to the Guardian, some 38 out of 156 councils in England have so far refused to take part in resettling those who have arrived, including Windsor and Maidenhead council - which covers Prime Minister Theresa May's constituency.

The UK is contributing €40.4m to help French authorities in the closure of the camp, which is expected to be completely destroyed by the end of the week.

French authorities say those who agree to be relocated can apply for asylum in France. Those who refuse face possible deportation.