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A $2.7 million wall will go up in Calais to keep migrants out of the UK

The "great wall of Calais," as critics are dubbing it, will be built on both sides of a road that leads to the English Channel, where refugees try to make it onto boats heading to the UK.

by Davide Mastracci
Sep 7 2016, 3:21pm

Un campo di fortuna allestito vicino a Calais, in Francia, nel Febbraio 2016. (Jerome Delay/AP)

France and the United Kingdom are planning to build a 13-foot high concrete wall in the French port city of Calais to keep migrants and refugees locked in a fortified camp from accessing a nearby road, according to the UK immigration minister.

On Tuesday, Robert Goodwill told the UK Commons home affairs committee that, "People are still getting through. We have done the fences. Now we are doing the wall."

The wall is part of a £17 million (US $22 million) joint security measure to prevent people in the camp, known as "the jungle" due to poor conditions, from jumping on transport trucks heading down the Rocade road that leads directly to the nearby Channel port. Refugees then often attempt to make it onto a boat heading across the English Channel.

The "great wall of Calais," as critics are dubbing it, will be built on both sides of the Rocade. It will be over a kilometer long, and cost nearly £2 million (US $2.7 million).

Construction on the wall is set to begin this month, and should be completed by the end of the year. Smooth concrete will be used to build the wall in order to make it more difficult for refugees to climb over, and it will be adorned with flowers to make it look more appealing to the local population.

A French aid worker in Calais, François Guennoc, told The Guardian that the wall is a futile effort to prevent the inevitable. "When you put walls up anywhere in the world, people find ways to go round them."

He added that the effort, which he deemed to be a "waste of money," will "make it more dangerous for people, it will push up tariffs for people smugglers and people will end up taking more risks."

Follow Davide Mastracci on Twitter: @DavideMastracci