French President François Hollande said Monday that the Calais “Jungle” camp would be “definitely dismantled.” The president is on a visit to the port city to meet with city and law enforcement officials but is not scheduled to visit the infamous camp.
Hollande’s visit comes days after one by his Conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy who is hoping to win another term as the country’s leader. The refugee and migrant crisis is a key portion in the upcoming presidential elections. Monday’s visit is also Hollande’s first visit to Calais since his presidency.
He added that the United Kingdom must “play its part” in helping resolve the ongoing crisis, Agence France-Presse reported. “I am determined to see British authorities play their part in the humanitarian effort that France is undertaking here,” the 62-year-old leader said.
The French government earlier announced that the camp, which has received international attention for its dismal conditions, will be closed and the estimated 9,000 refugees living in the camp will be relocated to reception centers across the country. However, reports said that the authorities are yet to come up with a plan for relocating the hundreds of unaccompanied minors who reside in the “Jungle” camp.
Authorities have made repeated attempts to close the camp, whose conditions Hollande deemed “not acceptable.” The president insisted Saturday that “we cannot have such camps in France,” adding that France must show that it is “capable of being dignified, humane and responsible.”
Many refugees living in Calais hope to enter the U.K. illegally by hiding in lorries crossing the English Channel. This prompted the U.K. government to fund the construction of a 0.6 mile wall last week along the main road to the Calais port in the hope of preventing refugees from crossing over to the U.K. illegally. Reports said that the wall, which will be completed by the end of this year, will cost the government an estimated 1.9 million pounds (nearly $2.5 million).