2017-04-11 11:06:00

Fire in France destroys migrant camp

(Vatican Radio) On Monday near Dunkirk in northern France, a large fire engulfed the Grande-Synthe migrant camp, which housed between 1,000 and 1,500 people in tightly-packed wooden cabins.

French officials say the fire was caused by a fight that broke out between the Afghans and the Kurds living in the camp on Monday afternoon. Ten people were injured, including six who sustained wounds from the fight. Reports say riot police intervened and clashed with 100 or 150 migrants.

The Grande-Synthe migrant camp was opened in March 2016 by Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors without Borders). Most of the migrants that go to France are fleeing from violence and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East, with the hope of reaching Britain. The camp became more inhabited after another camp near Calais was destroyed in October and an influx of migrants from Afghanistan.

The tension between the two groups made officials decide to dismantle the camp last month. Police have been called to break up numerous violent outbreaks, including a fight last month that resulted in five injured men and a stabbing in November.

The inhabitants of the camp were evacuated and have been given emergency shelter, with two nearby gymnasiums already available. No plans have been made to rebuild the camp.

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