Almost 2,000 migrants rode buses out of the Calais “Jungle” on Monday as French authorities kicked off an operation to dismantle the notorious camp that has become a symbol of Europe’s refugee crisis.
“Bye Bye, Jungle!” one group of migrants shouted as they hauled luggage through the muddy lanes of the shantytown where thousands of mainly Afghans, Sudanese and Eritreans had holed up, desperate to sneak into Britain.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 1,918 migrants had left Calais on buses bound for 80 reception centres across France under a heavy police presence.
A migrant carries bags with his belongings as he walks past the Calais city limit sign on the eve of the evacuation and transfer of migrants to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France.
"Jungle" migrants of Calais are interviewed inside an orientation center on October 24, 2016 in Nogent-le-Rotrou, France. Almost 2,000 migrants rode buses out of the Calais "Jungle" on October 24th as French authorities kicked off an operation to dismantle the notorious camp that has become a symbol of Europe's refugee crisis.
So-called "Jungle" migrants of Calais arrive at an orientation facility on October 24, 2016 in Nogent-le-Rotrou, France.
Migrants gather near fires that burn at the end of the first day of the evacuation of migrants from the "Jungle" in Calais and their transfer to reception centers in France, October 24, 2016.
Sparks fly from a fire as migrants sit near for warmth at the end of the first day of the evacuation and transfer to reception centers of migrants living in the "Jungle" in Calais, France on October 24.
People warm themselves with a fire in the makeshift migrant camp known as "the jungle" near Calais, northern France on Monday Oct. 24, 2016.
Migrants with their belongings line up as their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France starts.
Located on wasteland next to the port of Calais, the four-square-kilometre (1.5-square-mile) Jungle has become a symbol of Europe’s failure to resolve its worst migration crisis since World War II.
More than one million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa poured into Europe last year, sowing divisions across the 28-nation bloc and fuelling the rise of far-right parties.
Those seeking to smuggle themselves into Britain, believing it offers better chances of work and integration than France, have been converging on Calais for well over a decade. The first makeshift camp on the site of the Jungle dates back to 2002.