Refugees' fragile security at risk in Calais

The camp is known as the 'Jungle' (file, Reuters)
The camp is known as the 'Jungle' (file, Reuters)

As refugees at the Calais 'Jungle' camp stare down the threat of eviction, concerns are rising about the safety of migrants at the hands of police.

Migrants, charity workers and medical staff at the camp have raised concerns with Newshub about police violence.

"I came here to start my life, to study something, but if I cannot I will stay here," says one refugee.

People in the Calais refugee camp are waiting hear if they're about to be evicted

It will be swift if it comes: a deadline to move, then the bulldozers. Police numbers have already been bolstered

Don Ahmad Zi is just 12 -- he's alone in the camp, his family and parents still in Afghanistan.

"The police aren't too fussy how old a person is when they deal with the refugees," says Liz Clegg, founder of the Calais Women and Children's Centre.

Doctors Without Borders say there are myriad hard-to-treat health problems at the camp that will be made worse with eviction.

And the actual act of evicting is a major concern -- already police have been brutal.

"Where the people were just working, police cars arrived and beat the people just for nothing -- we had a lot of cases like this," says Pierre Cami, of Doctors Without Borders.

If evicted, refugees face three options. They can go to a centre or the container city set up by authorities -- it's 12 to a container with no running water, and considered prison by many

Or they can try to dig in and stay, which will likely mean forcible eviction to a centre anyway.

Finally, there's the option of escape -- to smaller French camps with little to no infrastructure, or across the border to the United Kingdom, usually by stowing away on a passing truck

Already life in the camp is hard for the migrants -- there's so much to contend with.

At least the jungle offers a degree of stability and protection, but now even that is threatened.