Children in Calais Still Sleeping Outside as Fires Burn in the Jungle Camp

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (October 27, 2016) — The situation for refugee and migrant children in Calais, France, after the demolition of the "Jungle" camp is the worst it has ever been, Save the Children is warning. Dozens of children were forced to sleep outside last night after being denied a safe place in Calais. Vulnerable children slept under bridges, outside warehouses and in the Jungle camp itself, which has become an increasingly volatile environment.

With fires blazing through the Jungle, registration closed and temporary accommodation full, children had nowhere to go. Staff on the ground have raised concerns that many children have already run away, having given up hope that this process will provide them with safety.

"Last night, we spent hours trying to negotiate a place for three young Eritrean boys – two were 13 years old and the other was 14 years old," said Dorothy Sang, a Save the Children aid worker in the camp. "Despite their pleading and most of the Jungle being burned to the ground, the boys were refused. They had to spend another night in the Jungle, which is now the most dangerous it has ever been for children.

"It’s disappointing to see this being reported as a success when so many vulnerable children have been left behind and so many more have run away. We may never know where they have gone."

Save the Children is urging that decisions, about where children who have been registered should go, are made in a fair and transparent way.

"We are pleased that vulnerable children are finally going to the UK," said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. "However, it is disappointing that this is being carried out alongside the imminent demolition of the Jungle, which is creating fear and chaos in the camp.

"Now that hundreds of these children are registered and in safe accommodation, they must be given the reassurance that they will have their voices heard and a fair assessment to determine whether they go to the UK or stay in France."

Save the Children has been working with partner agencies in Calais to set up information points in the camp along the path from the camp to the registration warehouse. There is still a lack of information and communication from the authorities, which has made it unclear what will happen to these children. Save the Children and its partners will continue outreach work today to get the remaining children into safe accommodation.

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