Blaze burning down French migrant camp after clash

Apr 12, 2017, 01:20
Blaze burning down French migrant camp after clash

A fire destroyed an encampment which housed about 1,500 migrants at the Grande-Synthe Dunkirk camp in northern France, camp officials said.

At least 10 people were hurt when closely-packed wooden huts burned down, according to firefighters. "It will be impossible to put the huts back where they were before", Lalande said.

The knock-on effects for UK-bound hauliers as a result of the fire that has reduced the migrant camp at Grande-Synthe, to the north of Dunkirk will be massive.

Grande-Synthe was France's only official migrant camp, set up by the local council with the backing of charities a year ago.

David Davis, the Brexit secretary, has said that immigration could increase even after Britain leaves the European Union, raising the prospect that migrants could still continue to gather in northern France for years to come.

Police cordoned off the camp in the Dunkirk suburb of Grande-Synthe on Tuesday and investigators inspected the site to try to determine the cause of the Monday night fire.

At least six migrants were wounded after scuffles and a knife fight which prompted riot police to intervene.

According to Lalande, 500 migrants have been sheltered but the location of around 900 others was unknown on Tuesday. "It was meant to be a world away from the squalid mess of the former Jungle camp situated 23 miles away in Calais", says the Daily Mail.

"We are refugees here in France; we don't have any place", he said.

The camp became more inhabited after another camp near Calais was destroyed in October and an influx of migrants from Afghanistan.

"We will need to take up discussions with Britain again on the situation which leaves us acting as border guards for this country", the secretary general of Macron's party, Richard Ferrand, told the LCI channel.

Social media images showed the plumes of smoke above the camp.

"It seems that it is related to fights between Iraqis and Afghans", he said.

Hours later, flames lapped the sky in a blaze the prefecture said was apparently linked to the clash. Another man was stabbed in November.

"We can't let things continue like this", he said.