First buses carrying migrants leave Calais 'Jungle' ahead of camp's demolition

More than 2,000 taken to centres around France after first day of police operation

First buses carrying migrants leave Calais 'Jungle' ahead of camp's demolition

Migrants carrying their belonging arrive before being registered at a processing centre in the makeshift migrant camp known as "The Jungle" near Calais, northern France | Image: Thibault Camus AP/Press Association Images

The first buses carrying migrants from the sprawling 'Jungle' camp in Calais have left for shelters in central France ahead of its demolition, due to begin tomorrow. 

The mass exodus of refugees and migrants is now under way, with buses starting to disperse thousands of the camp's residents.

More than 2,000 have been taken to centres around France after the first day of the police operation with about 4,000 others still left.

People in the queues said they had no idea where they were going but most seemed resigned to leaving.

One Afghan national who spoke to Sky News said he would remain in Calais for as long as possible and return if he is moved, for the chance, no matter how small, of eventually making his way to British soil.

"I don't want to leave... but they have told us we have to leave," he said. "We will try to stay here for as long as we can."

Under the watchful eye of more than 1,200 police, queues formed of people with their belongings at official registration points on Monday morning.

The first bus to leave the notorious Jungle site had on board around 50 Sudanese people and was heading for the Burgundy region.

More than 6,000 refugees, many of them families and some 1,291 unaccompanied children, are believed to have been living at the camp.

Many of them have made treacherous journeys to escape wars, dictators and poverty - and dreamed of starting a better life in Britain.

The first migrants to be transferred received their designated wristbands - the colour of which indicated where their next destination would be.

Hotels and even castles are among the hundreds of venues officials have been converting to migrant housing ahead of the big move.

The process will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the actual demolition process of the camp expected to get under way tomorrow.

The complex operation to move the migrants, unprecedented in Europe, is expected to be finished by the end of the week.

By then, it will have been emptied and destroyed. 

Those who refuse to leave Calais risk being arrested and deported, charities have warned.

British and French authorities have faced particular criticism over their handling of unaccompanied children, with charities and aid groups describing their handling of the issue as "shambolic".