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Jungle tents destroyed by a blaze

20 November 2015

DEMOTIX

From the ashes: refugees in the Jungle work on shelters in the aftermath of the fire, on Monday

From the ashes: refugees in the Jungle work on shelters in the aftermath of the fire, on Monday

A FIRE at the refugee camp in Calais termed “the Jungle” has destroyed 70 tents that were home to 150 people.

The blaze had broken out at about 00.45 a.m. on Saturday, among “closely crowded” tents in the camp’s Sudanese quarter, Phil Kerton, of Seeking Sanctuary, said on Tuesday. It is believed to have been caused by people falling asleep while a candle was still alight.

“The flames spread quickly due to the wind, and people were running around trying to evacuate the area and get people to safety,” he said. There were no major injuries, but many people’s documents and papers were burnt and destroyed, “along with most of their bedding and scanty property”.

The fire was put out by the French fire service, and volunteers spent up to 40 hours working non-stop to clear the debris and set up replacement shelters.

There was a “very urgent need” for aid, Mr Kerton said, “as everything relevant that was in the Auberge de Migrants warehouse was distributed immediately. It is very cold at night.”

Recent weeks have brought a “tremendous increase” in numbers at the camp, which is becoming increasingly crowded. French authorities are preparing to erect modified containers as winter shelter.

www.seekingsanctuary.weebly.com

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