NEW DELHI: Tensions are high as more than 1200 police and officials in France begin preparations for the clearance of the “Jungle” migrant camp in Calais. Over 7000 refugees lived in the camp, and are expected to be offered placements at refugee centres across France. There is concern, however, that at least half of these refugees are not seeking asylum in France, and were in Calais in an effort to get across to the United Kingdom.

The tensions sparked clashes over the weekend between police and groups of migrants. "They'll have to force us to leave. We want to go to Britain," an Afghan refugee at the camp told AFP news agency.

The French interior ministry said it "does not want to use force but if there are migrants who refuse to leave, or NGOs who cause trouble, the police might be forced to intervene.” Over 7000 beds have been made available in centres across France, with 60 buses prepared to relocate the refugees. Heavy machinery is being brought in to clear the camp, with the whole operation expected to take about three days.

France’s decision to clear the camp is linked to reports of violence in the camp, as well as concern regarding extremism as France has seen several deadly terror attacks in the last few years. The camp has seen its population swell, despite France cutting down the territory of the camp in half in recent months, as thousands of migrants make their way to Calais in a bid to cross over to the UK.

The UK, in turn, has funded and started work on a 1km long wall along the main road to the port in an attempt to deter would-be stowaways. The wall is expected to cost the UK about £2 million.

A volunteer French teacher at a school in the camp told CNN that people are worried because they do not know where they will go. "They have no idea which place they're headed to and above all if they are going to stay with their friends," said Michel Abecassis. "We are all very worried, I am very worried. A lot of people are here with very close friends and of course their hope is to be in a reception center with their friends, and not to just be sent anywhere."

A majority of the migrants in the camp are from sub-Saharan Africa -- Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia -- and Afghanistan. They have made arduous and gruelling journeys from their home country to the camp, in a bid to make it to the UK where they have heard that it is easier - relatively - to make a living. Many of them are still holding on to that dream, with a relocation to an arbitrary centre in France, that casts yet another question mark over their future, being resisted.

In addition to resistance from refugees who are not seeking asylum in France, there is the question of the rehabilitation of a large number of unaccompanied minors. There are about 1200 unaccompanied minors at the camp. The French government has worked out a deal with the UK where unaccompanied minors that have close family in the UK will legally go there. However, this only accounts for about 300 children. The French government at this point has no firm idea on what it will do with the 900 or 1000 so remaining children.

At a recent press briefing in Geneva, UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards outlined the need for a sustainable solution to relocating the children at the camp. "This is important so that children don't move on to other destinations and risk becoming exploited by human traffickers or end up living on the streets without any support," he said. "Strengthened measures must be taken to reunite children with relatives in Europe."

At this point, France’s only provisional option for relocating the children is to move them to what are called container camps, but there are legal problems with the move as container camps are not structures fit for minors.

Given the above, it is worth reiterating that the destruction of Calais is a political move, meant to assuage a worried public by sending out the message that the government is concerned about the country’s security in the wake of recent terror attacks. The French government has justified the destruction of the camp as a “humanitarian move”, when ironically, it is just the opposite. Sending thousands of people out on the streets -- with no clarity in place regarding the question “what next?” -- is nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe.