The two Jungles on two continents illustrate different sets of problems — but both are filled with people without a home.
Campers have been evicted from a homeless enclave called The Jungle, in Calais, France. Although much larger of an encampment, France’s Jungle and its eviction share many of the qualities of Seattle’s homeless camp of the same name.
The two camps, on separate continents, lay bare separate sets of problems seemingly without tidy solutions.
A look at Seattle’s Jungle revealed a community of people in grim circumstances and showed the struggles many homeless campers faced there, including mental-health issues, addiction, poverty and crime. Campers described a sometimes-chaotic environment brimming with trash and sanitation issues. A fatal shooting earlier this year brought the Jungle and these issues into public focus.
In France, the Jungle highlights Europe’s struggle with migration. As many as 10,000 people lived in the jungle in Calais, amid cold, wet and unclean living conditions. Many of them were from countries where conflict rages, like Afghanistan, Eritrea or Sudan, according to the New York Times. The French government had been relying on humanitarian groups to provide basic necessities and food to campers, before formulating a plan to resettle the migrants amid mounting political pressure.
Neither eviction process went smoothly, and both took place in fits and starts.
In Seattle, the mayor and City Council considered several plans for clearing the Jungle. Other camps popped up as the process stalled. In Seattle, sweeps of many homeless camps have been disorganized and campers have lost possessions. In the most recent and final sweep of the Jungle, police shot and killed a man who was allegedly armed with a knife. Despite the incident, aid workers said Seattle was relatively successful clearing the area and moving people to shelters.
In France, authorities dismantled half of the camp in March, but the process was criticized by humanitarian organizations. More than 1,000 police officers were dispatched to the Jungle this time to keep tensions from simmering too hot, according to CNN. Unaccompanied minors might qualify to move to Britain. Other campers may be resettled in France.
In 2014, police cleared out a large homeless camp in San Jose, Calif., also nicknamed “The Jungle.”