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Calais jungle camp: France urges Britain to take in 1,500 unaccompanied minors

Around 274 children with relatives in the country have been taken in by Britain since mid-October. In photo: Young migrants pose with posters reading 'Please please help us we are children' on October 26, 2016. Photograph: (AFP)

Dou?-la-Fontaine, France Oct 29, 2016, 09.15 PM (IST)

French Prime Minister Francois Hollande urged Britain to take in about 1,500 minors from the Calais 'jungle' camp as the demolition process draws to a near end.

Hollande said that the minors will soon be dispersed around the country.

"We had to rise to the challenge of the refugee issue. We could not tolerate the camp and we will not tolerate any others," he said while visiting a reception centre in Doue-la-Fontaine in western France, AFP reported.

"There are 1,500 unaccompanied minors left in Calais and they will be very quickly dispatched to other (reception) centres," he added.

Hollande said that he had discussed that British officials would "accompany these minors to these centres and would play their part in subsequently welcoming them to the United Kingdom" with British Prime minister Theresa May.

The demolition is in process and official hope to complete the clearance of the camp by Monday night.

More than a 100 left-wing lawmakers called on British home secretary Amber Rudd to take in the unaccompanied minors from the migrant camp.

The letter said 1,500 unaccompanied minors had been placed in safety in the provisional reception centre -- a container camp -- in Calais, reported AFP. The letter urged Britain to assume "moral duty" by making arrangements for the minors' arrival.

"(They) are not seeking any favours: they have the right, in line with current international regulations and British law, to go to Britain.

"Their transfer to Britain is urgent. We ask you to take your responsibilities and assume your moral duty by immediately organising their arrival."

Around 274 children with relatives in the country have been taken in by Britain since mid-October.

A British charity founder voiced doubts over the fate of those who had been evacuated.

"We are worried about what happens next -- there will be a multitude of small camps where conditions are even worse than in the Jungle," said Clare Moseley, founder of British charity Care4Calais, AFP reported.

Locals fear that another camp will come up after the 'jungle' is cleared.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve had on Friday said he believed that "85 percent of those who had been living in (the camp in) Calais were eligible to win refugee status in France", AFP reported.

(With inputs from AFP)

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