More tents and shelters have been set on fire at the so-called “Jungle” migrant camp in Calais, as operations to demolish the settlement continued.
It happened as others queued to be relocated and authorities resumed clearing the camp on the northern French coast.
Overnight several fires raged in parts of the site.
Some of the camp’s inhabitants staged what is believed to be their last act of defiance, prefering to burn their shelters rather than seeing them taken down by the authorities.
Smoke continued to rise above the camp on Wednesday morning as workers in hard hats and orange jumpsuits pulled down abandoned tents and shacks.
While many migrants have been moved by bus to centres across France, close to a thousand unaccompanied minors have been given temporary accommodation in containers nearby.
The charity Save the Children has called on France and Britain to redouble efforts to ensure the safety of children, especially those who will not be allowed to travel to England.
“We don’t know if all the children have gone through or whether they’ll be in this space, and this space is in the middle of the jungle. So what they’re proposing is that this demolition will happen all around them and I imagine it will be quite terrifying to children,” said
Dorothy Sang of Save the Children, in Calais.
The regional prefect, Fabienne Buccio, said it was difficult to prevent the fires which became something of a ritual earlier this year when one section of the camp was partly dismantled.
“Some migrants follow traditions – we asked them not to do it – but they set ablaze their tents and their shelters when they leave,” she said.
More than 4,000 people, fleeing war and poverty outside Europe, had come to Calais hoping to make it across the Channel to Britain have been bussed out of the camp and relocated around France.
More than 1,000 migrants are said still to remain in the camp.
There are fears that after close to two decades of migrants in Calais, camps will soon return after the clearance is over.