Calais child crisis: As 4,000 lone children claim asylum in Britain, French and UK authorities head to the packed Jungle to thrash out how to home them

  • French and UK officials will meet to discuss how to deal with thousands of lone children across Europe
  • Councils from the Local Government Association will meet outspoken Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart
  • Number of British-bound migrants in notorious Calais camp has doubled to 9,000 in the past six months

British and French authorities will meet in the packed ‘Jungle’ as they discuss how to care for the thousands of unoccupied children across Europe.

More than 4,000 lone children are claiming asylum in the UK, with councils tasked with ensuring they are resettled and cared for.

Councils from the Local Government Association will visit the makeshift camp and meet with Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart to try and get a grip on the ongoing refugee crisis.

British and French officials will meet in Calais' notorious 'Jungle' to try and get a handle on the ongoing refugee crisis

The squalid camp is also rife with disease, violence and prostitution and had a become a 'no-go zone' for police

The population in the camp has hit 9,000 and was projected to pass 10,000 before the end of the month

It comes as it was revealed the number of British-bound migrants in the notorious Calais camp has doubled to 9,000 in the past six months.

It has jumped by 2,000 in the last month alone – and there are fears it could rise to 10,000 by September.

In June there were 761 minors living in the camp – 608 of them (80 per cent) are unaccompanied by an adult.

The youngest child is just four months old, and the youngest unaccompanied child is eight years old.

The surge in numbers comes after French officials warned last week that increasing numbers of jihadi extremists could be hiding among the refugees at the sprawling site near the ferry port.

The squalid camp is also rife with disease, violence and prostitution and had a become a ‘no-go zone’ for police who are frequently attacked with iron bars and rocks when they try to enter.

After the French demolished the southern part of the camp in March, numbers in 'the Jungle' have grown again

A French police spokesman says that the camp is at breaking point after the migrant population there increased to 9,000

The meeting follows of months of tensions about the state of refugee care after the Brexit vote.

Calls were made by French officials in June for border checks on the British side of the English Channel, paving the way for the refugees to make their way to English shores.

Calais’ outspoken mayor has previously blamed Britain’s ‘black market economy’ and ‘cushy benefits system’ for the thousands of migrants in her town.

She said last year: ‘Calais is a hostage to the British. The UK border should be moved from Calais to the English side of the Channel because we’re not here to do their jobs.’

French and UK officials will meet to discuss how to help the 4,000 unoccupied children in Calais 

Chairman of the LGA’s Asylum, Refugee and Migration Task Group David Simmonds said: ‘It is imperative that children are kept safe wherever they currently are across Europe.

‘Many children will require care and support packages directly from councils or their partners if they are not able to be relocated with existing family in Europe or the UK.

‘If children do come to the UK, councils want to get it right so that children who have experienced horrendous conditions within and since fleeing their country of origin are able to settle into UK life as quickly and easily as possible with ongoing support made available when they need it.

‘Ideally, councils will work alongside government and their partners to assess children and agree their needs before they enter the UK.’

A police spokesman told the French media: 'It's truly mind boggling what's going on there. The place is at breaking point and it's worse than ever'

In February the southern part of the sprawling camp near the port of Calais was cleared, but migrants moved elsewhere

Demolition crews entered the encampment and started clearing the southern section as migrants were relocated to £20million purpose-built accommodation.

But refugees complained it resembled a ‘detention centre’ and was a ploy to prevent them trying to reach Britain.

As such, they simply moved into other areas of the ‘Jungle’ – which has now swelled again in size to a record number.


2002: The Jungle is born after the Sangatte reception centre near the port is closed.

2009: It is estimated that the Jungle has some 800 inhabitants.

2014: By September this year, it is estimated to have increased to 1,300.

July 2015: Jungle residents up to around 3,000 in the wake of the migrant crisis.

November 2015: The influx continues, and it is reported that some 6,000 now live in the Jungle in Calais.

January 11: Calais authorities opens a new £20m camp for 1,500 Jungle residents

January 13: Residents refuse to move into the new camp, and starts protesting

January 15: Authorities give a Monday deadline, and residents rush to move out

January 18: Demolition of one third of the camp finally begins

March 2016: Clashes between riot police and refugees who refused to be moved from the camp

March 16 2016: South side of the Jungle is bulldozed 

June 2016: Camp swells again to 7,000 

August 2016: Camp increases to a record 9,000 – with thousands of unoccupied children inside 


Britain and France signed the Le Touquet treaty in 2003 amid tensions over the number of people in camps at Calais.

The deal was the latest in a series that allowed Britain to carry out border checks on the French side of the Channel – meaning papers were checked there and vehicles inspected.

British officials are based on the French side of the channel and cooperation around the eurotunnel terminal was stepped up last summer as the numbers trying to break into the tunnel grew.

Scrapping the deal could see British border checks brought back to the English side of the Channel – potentially allowing people to reach the Kent shore to set up camp while awaiting processing.

There are currently around 9,000 people at the camps with ‘roads’ handed British-styled names such as Queen Elizabeth II Street.

July: Brits smuggle illegal immigrants in English Channel

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