Evicted 'Jungle' migrants sleeping rough at port

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The Independent Online

Afghan immigrants who fled their makeshift homes in "the Jungle" before it was raided by French police were still sleeping rough around the Port of Calais today.

Yesterday, their makeshift homes were razed to the ground as French authorities tried to stamp out human trafficking in the area.

Today, the site was a scene of desolation, with the homes of hundreds of people reduced to a few piles of rubbish.

But many of the immigrants had already left before police moved in, detaining just 278 people, almost half of whom said they were children.

Tents were dotted around scrubland next to the main motorway out of the French port where dozens of immigrants set on entering Britain were living.

Among them was Mohammad Mukhtari, 23, who fled the Jungle with his friend Ali, having heard about the French raid beforehand.

Mr Mukhtari moved from Afghanistan about nine months ago because he said he had "troubles" with the government and was forced to leave his wife and two daughters behind.

From his new location, sitting on an embankment, he said: "I'm really worried about my future and my life. I just want to make a new life for myself. I do not mind what country that's in. I just want to bring my children and my family with me."

The French government intends to send immigrants back to the European country of entry.

But the Afghan former shopkeeper said he did not want to go back.

"I can't stay in France because my fingerprints are in Greece and in Finland, so now I don't know what to do."

He went on: "It's difficult here. Living in the Jungle, we have no water, no clothes, no food and no medical facilities."

Mansor Baloch, 17, had already been living at the camp next to the motorway when the Jungle was cleared.

Mr Baloch, who claimed to have an uncle in the UK, said: "I have had some problems in Afghanistan and I want to get to England. I think England will be better than here."

He said he had already tried twice to get across the English Channel.

Despite having no success, he was determined to keep trying.

A UN spokesman said there had been reports of immigrants walking around the area with their belongings.

A group of immigrants who were detained by police in their swoop on the Jungle have been released, according to the UN.

William Spindler, spokesman for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, said they were released yesterday and were expected to be still in the area.

At the moment, some are believed to have gone to get food from an aid agency food distribution point in Calais.

He said: "There must be quite a few of them wandering around the town somewhere.

"They are probably looking for a place to sleep. There are many spots in Calais like derelict buildings or shanties, like the one that was dismantled yesterday, spread around Calais."