Grande-Synthe Migrant Camp Burns to Ashes

Firefighters at Grande-Synthe migrant campFirefighters at Grande-Synthe migrant camp

Over a dozen people have been injured in the Grande-Synthe migrant camp following violent clashes between migrants and a subsequent blaze that reportedly reduced the facility to a “heap of ashes”.

The massive fire erupted at the camp outside the French city of Dunkirk at around 11:00 p.m. following clashes between Kurdish and Afghan migrants, RT reported.

According to reports, the violence erupted over alleged accommodation discrimination. The Afghan refugees, who came to Dunkirk after the dismantling of the Calais “Jungle” at the end of October 2016, were apparently unhappy about being housed in collective kitchens while the Kurds slept in chalets.

Scuffles between residents of the makeshift refugee camp began in the early evening and quickly escalated into a violent brawl in which knives came into play. As tensions soared, at least six people were rushed to a nearby Dunkirk hospital, most with stab wounds.

One of the migrants suffered “cardio respiratory arrest” after apparently being run over by a car on the A16 motorway, as clashes continued outside the camp, Le Figaro noted.

“There is nothing left but a heap of ashes,” Michel Lalande, prefect of France’s Nord region, told reporters at the scene as firefighters continued to battle the flames. “It will be impossible to put the huts back where they were before.”

The migrants who lost their ‘homes’ were evacuated into emergency accommodation, the prefect said, adding that the city of Grande Synthe had already vacated two gymnasiums. By early Tuesday, at least 165 people had been relocated.

Last month, the French government said it planned to dismantle the Grande-Synthe refugee camp built by the Doctors Without Borders charity “as soon as possible” after camp residents had repeatedly clashed with police.

Up to 10,000 camp residents were dispersed across France after the Calais Jungle was cleared in October 2016. Many of those who were not granted asylum, deported or sent to overburdened reception centers have now resorted to sleeping rough across northern France, as migrants continue to arrive with hopes of reaching the UK.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints