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Save the Children urges safety of Calais youngsters

The fate of unaccompanied children has been the main focus of charities [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 October, 2016

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The charity has urged that French and British authorities ensure a smooth process for children who are being forced to leave the camp as demolition gets under way
The head of Save the Children has urged that youngsters at the Calais refugee camp are kept safe as French authorities dismantle their makeshift homes.

As estimated 1,000 children are believed to be staying in the "jungle" which is being demolished this week.

"It's very scary, I think, for kids particularly. You see them coming in with bulldozers. This is where children have been living for weeks and months in some cases," Carolyn Miles, the president and CEO of Save the Children, told AFP.

Workmen have begun reducing shacks to piles of wood, completely dismantling the camp, which has served as a launchpad for its residents to reach Britain.

President Francois Hollande vowed to completely clear the camp by the end of this year.

Hundreds of residents have been moved to reception centres around the country.

But the camp's unaccompanied children have been the main focus of charities' concerns, and hundreds of anxious youths have been queuing for interviews with French and British officials who will decide their fate.

So far this week, 772 children were moved to shipping containers converted to temporary shelters in the camp.

And Britain took in around 200 as an eleventh hour gesture.

Miles said Britain and France were both paying attention to unaccompanied children but urged the governments to ensure a smooth process and clear path forward, especially for children who ultimately are not accepted into the UK.

It is "really important, especially now when things are so chaotic there, that we keep these children safe and we make sure they get the opportunity they deserve to go on from there," she said at a charity fundraiser in New York on Tuesday night.

The gala honoured Somali-born supermodel Iman, the widow of David Bowie, who has been active in Save the Children projects in Africa. Hollywood star Jennifer Garner served as the evening's host.

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