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