In the midst of the horrific massacre in Paris, that has left at least 120 people dead and scores injured, a fire broke out late evening on Friday (Nov. 13) in a refugee camp in Calais, the northeastern French town, injuring a number of immigrants staying there.
“The details are sketchy at the moment,” an aid worker, told BuzzFeed. “What we do know is that a number of people in the camps have been injured and we are trying to find medical care for them.”
“There’s about 10,000 square meters on fire. We don’t know the origin of the fire yet,” Phillipe Mignonet, Calais’ deputy mayor, told RT, a Russian news agency.
The incident, which happened as the situation in Paris was unfolding, sparked speculation that it might be a revenge attack against immigrants. But Mignonet was quick to dispel that suggestion. “That is two separate things, and the fire there has nothing to do with the attacks in Paris tonight,” he told RT. But one aid worker told BuzzFeed that the local police had deployed extra protection for the immigrants in light of what happened in Paris.
The number of injured is yet to be determined, but there are reports that 2,500 meters of tents and shelters burned down in the blaze. This Polish journalist posted these photos from the scene.
A group calling itself the “angry of Calais” posted a video they claimed was of the fire on their Facebook page.
The fire was contained, a reporter for Channel 4 News, the British broadcaster, said:
The settlement known as the “Jungle” sprung up in 1992 following the outbreak of the Yugoslavian civil war. But over the last few months the number has doubled to an estimated 6,000 people, with immigrants fleeing the war zones of the Middle East, with some trying to make their way across the channel to Britain.
Earlier this week clashes broke out at the camp between the police and migrants. The police employed tear gas at the migrants who were reportedly pelting rocks at them. Volunteers suggested that the clash reflects frustration by migrants at their desperate situation. “There’s more and more desperation in the camp coming to a climax,” a volunteer told the Associated Press.