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The Calais Jungle

A look back at the migrant camp in Calais known as the ‘Jungle’ as it is dismantled by French authorities

Magnum Photographers

Susan Meiselas Immigrants eating daily midday meal provided by the French organization, La Belle Etoile, near the Port. Calais, France. 2008. © Susan Meiselas | Magnum Photos
Patrick Zachmann French police have moved in to dismantle a makeshift camp set up by migrants near the port of Calais. 2008. © Patrick Zachmann | Magnum Photos
Patrick Zachmann French police have moved in to dismantle a makeshift camp set up by migrants near the port of Calais. Calais, France. 2008. © Patrick Zachmann | Magnum Photos
Patrick Zachmann French police have moved in to dismantle a makeshift camp set up by migrants near the port. Calais, France. 2009. © Patrick Zachmann | Magnum Photos
Stuart Franklin Migrants camped to the port hoping to travel to England. A group of Sudanese migrants whose tents were destroyed by private individuals that morning. Sala (right) has come to Calais is a smallholde (...)
Jérôme Sessini Orthodox Christians worshippers prays outside the Calais church. The makeshift church for Ethiopian and Eritrean community is known as St Michael's Calais.The migrants who lives in the "Jungle" of (...)
Jérôme Sessini A 13 years old Egyptian migrant who traveled alone to Europe.The migrants who lives in the "Jungle" of Calais are a mix of refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants from Darfur, Afghanistan, (...)
Jérôme Sessini The "Jungle", the shantytown near Calais city, where migrants live while attempting to enter the United Kingdom. Syrian migrants climb the fence to cross illegally to UK. Calais, France. September (...)
Jérôme Sessini The "Jungle", the shantytown near Calais city, where migrants live while attempting to enter the United Kingdom. Syrian migrants climb the fence to cross illegally to UK. Calais, France. September (...)
Jérôme Sessini Clashes between migrants and police. Several times a week, migrants of different nationality are trying to slow the trucks that go to England.The migrants who lives in the "Jungle" of Calais are a (...)
Jérôme Sessini The "Jungle", the shantytown near Calais city, where migrants live while attempting to enter the United Kingdom. Syrian migrants climb the fence to cross illegally to UK. Calais, France. September (...)
Jérôme Sessini The "Jungle", the shantytown near Calais city, where migrants live while attempting to enter the United Kingdom. Syrian migrants climb the fence to cross illegally to UK. Calais, France. September (...)
Jérôme Sessini The "Jungle", the shantytown near Calais city, where migrants live while attempting to enter the United Kingdom. Syrian migrants climb the fence to cross illegally to UK. Calais, France. September (...)
Jérôme Sessini Anti Riot police (CRS) escorting the scientific police is leaving the crime scene where a Sudanese migrant was stabbed to death by another migrant. The migrants who lives in the "Jungle" of Calais (...)
Jérôme Sessini First day of the dismantling of a part of the Calais jungle. Calais, France. February 29, 2016. © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos
Jérôme Sessini March 2, 2016. Calais, France. © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos
Jérôme Sessini 3 weeks after the dismantling of the southern part of Calais jungle. Calais, France. March 19, 2016. © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos
Jérôme Sessini Violent clashes erupted in the so-called Jungle camp in Calais, home to thousands of migrants, after a demonstration in their support was banned by local authorities.The clashes opposed far left (...)

On October 24, 2016, French authorities began dismantling the Calais home of thousands of migrants. Over the past several years, Magnum photographers have witnessed the makeshift camps in the area, which have always been a draw for migrants attempting to enter the United Kingdom. Since 1999, there have been various camps in and around Calais, but the so-called “Jungle” (probably a translation of the Pashto word for forest) is the only one to have some sanitation and to serve one hot meal per day to its inhabitants. Here, we chart its evolution from 2008 until the beginnings of its dismantling in February 2016 and the violent clashes in early October.

Tensions in the Calais Jungle had increased in recent months. After witnessing clashes between protesters, some migrants and French police, Magnum’s Jérôme Sessini said, “There is more desperation and migrants are trying harder and harder to stop trucks.” Following French president François Holland’s vow to clear the camp “within weeks” of that, authorities have begun to move hundreds of people to other sites in northern or southern France to be processed.

As migrants either pre-emptively flee the area, or are dispersed by French authorities, we take a look back at the images that from the camp that have become emblematic of the migrant crisis in Europe.