PHOTOS/VIDEO: Fire Destroys Half of Dunkirk’s Grande-Synthe Refugee Camp

A fire broke out Monday night (local time) at the the Grande-Synthe refugee camp in Dunkirk, France — a camp which Deutsche Welle previously called “the stuff of nightmares” due to its squalid, overcrowded and lawless conditions. Most residents of the camp are Vietnamese, Iranians, Afghans or Iraqi Kurds hoping to make it to Britain.

AFP reported that the fire has destroyed at least half the camp, with at least 10 people injured.

In mid-March, news channel France24 reported that French security forces intended to dismantle the camp “as soon as possible” because, as Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux told the French Senate, “It’s no longer just a question of re-establishing public order” there. Five camp residents had previously been injured in a fight which broke out at the beginning of March.

This was not the first fire to strike the camp this year. In January a newly built Women’s Center, intended primarily to help refugee mothers with infants and young children, burned down in what was believed to be a deliberate act of arson. But that fire, at least, only destroyed the Women’s Center without spreading to the rest of the camp.

Smoke and flames from the current blaze were visible for miles from the camp.


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