France: Grande-Synthe migrant camp gutted in fire
A fire razed most of the Grande-Synthe migrant camp near Dunkirk in northern France overnight after fighting among its inhabitants left several people injured, the region’s top government official said early on Tuesday.
The camp, set up just over a year ago and equipped with tightly-packed wooden cabins and sanitation, had housed around 1,500 people, many of them Kurds. Its population has grown recently with a surge of arrivals from Afghanistan. “The camp has largely been destroyed,” Michel Lalande, prefect for France’s Nord region, said by telephone, adding that the fire followed a fight between the Afghans and Kurds there.
Grande-Synthe has been home to one of the largest groups of Britain-bound migrants on the French coast since the closure last October of a sprawling shanty town outside the nearby port of Calais Last week, some of its inhabitants tried to block the nearby highway with tree trunks and branches in an attempt to stop the traffic and clamber onto the trucks and cars in the hope of reaching Britain.
Sights like these in recent years to some extent drove Britons to vote for a divorce from Europe last summer. The large influx into Europe of migrants fleeing poverty and war elsewhere is …read more