Calais Jungle wall is completed two months after all the refugees were driven out

"It's a complete joke, a very costly political point-scoring exercise. That money could have been used to put a warm roof over refugees' heads"

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The Independent Online

A multi-million wall built to separate the Calais Jungle from passing trucks has finally been completed, two months after the camp was bulldozed and its thousands of refugee residents scattered around France.

The British-funded wall cost £2.3m. That's more expensive than the modern, wood-shelter camp which houses 2,500 refugees in nearby Dunkirk, or enough to house and support nearly 300 Syrian refugees in Britain for a year.

A four-metre high concrete barrier, it runs along a kilometre of the main road beside the razed Jungle camp, reinforcing a pre-existing tangle of wire fences.

Tina Brocklebank of Help Refugees still works in a Calais warehouse, sending aid to nearby resettlement camps and to Paris, where thousands of refugees are now sleeping rough.

"It's a complete joke, a very costly political point-scoring exercise," she told the Independent. "That money could have been used to put a warm roof over refugees' heads. If refugees are seen in Calais, they're immediately taken to detention centres, so it's not a safe place for them to be anyway."

After the demolition, refugees were bussed to new camps around France, but in the confusion one in three child refugees from the camp went missing. Others were sleeping rough among the wreckage of the camp, or engaged in "forced labour" in resettlement centres like "prisons".

"There's been a huge decrease in donations and volunteers, but we still desperately need warm clothing, blankets, sleeping bags and volunteers," said Ms Brocklebank. 

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Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart attempted to block the construction of the wall, arguing it was unneccessary since the Jungle had been demolished, but this move was overturned in court by the local government – which stands to profit from construction in the Calais port area.

"Border regimes like the one in Calais fund corporates that make a killing from anti-migrant barriers, and that would have no need to exist if the borders were open,"  a spokeswoman for the Calais Research Network told the Independent.

The wall was built by Vinci, a construction company heavily involved in the €900 million expansion planned for the Calais port. Vinci subsidiary Sogea was paid by the French government to demolish sections of the Jungle.

"There are no dangerous people here to be kept off the road by this bungled wall," added Ms Brocklebank. "There are people across France who need our support and compassion."

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