calais migrants
Four men who have risked their lives to reach Britain (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Between 2,500 and 5,000 migrants and refugees have lived in the Jungle, an informal camp on the outskirts of Calais, over the past two months. The vast majority of its inhabitants, living at France's closest point to Britain, hope to start new lives in the UK.

The migrants who live there have traversed distances of hundreds or thousands of miles over months or even years to reach Europe from some of the most benighted countries on earth: Afghanistan, Eritrea, Syria and others. Most have lost friends on the way and are now willing to risk their own lives in what they consider their last deadly gamble to reach Britain.

However, before they illegally cross into the UK on a lorry as it boards a ferry or aboard a Eurotunnel train, they wait for their chance in the Jungle. Some will stay only a matter of weeks before they cross, others will wait more than a year or try their luck elsewhere.

They live among the coarse bushes in borrowed tents on the dunes of Calais in a place that has no rules and no governing authority. It is not a refugee camp as such. Instead, it is a cluster of several hundred scattered dwellings maintained by charitable organisations, the people of Calais and the migrants themselves.

Within the Jungle, the migrants tend to be grouped by nationality and religion. The transitory hamlet of tents has seven mosques, one orthodox church and several restaurants and shops. These are some of the faces and brief stories of the inhabitants:

Saeed, 27 (Afghanistan)
Saeed left Afghanistan after years of fighting in his home country. He wants to go to Britain so he can earn a good living and have a good job. He came to Europe through Iran and Turkey (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Saeed
Age: 22
Born: Afghanistan

Rad, 30 (Kuwait)
Rad left Kuwait because of his bedouin status. Kuwaiti policy has effectively rendered its traditional bedouin population stateless because they are not classed as citizens if they do not hold permanent residence in one place (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Rad
Age: 30
Born: Kuwait

Mahmoud, 14 (Syria)
Mahmoud left his home in Aleppo after his mother, father and siblings were killed in government airstrikes. He came to Calais from Syria by crossing over its eastern border with Turkey. He passed through Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia on his way to France (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Mahmoud
Age: 14
Born: Syria

Sikander, 42 (Afghanistan)
Sikander fled war in his country to seek asylum. He was denied asylum in Norway five times and now does not want to go to Britain after opening the first restaurant in the Jungle (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Sikander
Age: 42
Born: Afghanistan

Stanikzai, 40 (Afghanistan)
Stanikzai fled his home in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, which witnessed some of the worst fighting between US-led Nato troops and the Taliban in 2001. His home province remains unsafe because of Taliban activity (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Stanikzai
Age: 40
Born: Afghanistan

Haroun, 20 (Sudan)
Haroun has been travelling to Britain from the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan for the past three years and says it is all he has worked for every day. He travelled though Libya and Italy to reach Calais and spent two days on a boat crossing the Mediterranean. He has lived in the jungle for two weeks (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Haroun Bubakr
Age: 20
Born: Sudan, Darfur region

Sabaun is among the youngest male migrants living in the Jungle. At the age of 11, boys are separated from women and children migrants housed at the French government run Jules Ferry centre 2km from the Jungle (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Sabaun
Age: 12
Born: Afghanistan

Mikie, 26 (Sudan)
Mikie left his home in the Sudanese capital Khartoum because of the country's oppressive regime and poverty. He travelled to Europe via Libya and spent two days crammed in a boat with 1,000 other migrants. He wants to go to Britain because he hopes his English will help him find a job (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Mikie
Age: 26
Born: Sudan

Basel, 43 (Afghanistan)
Basel has lived in the Jungle in Calais for two months and wants to go to England for a better life (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Basel
Age: 43
Born: Afghanistan

Mohammed, 15 (Afghanistan)
Mohammed has lived in a tent in the jungle for two months. He has left Afghanistan because he has no opportunities to study there and wants to be a journalist in the UK (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Mohammed Siddique
Age: 15
Born: Afghanistan

Ifraim, 27 (Eritrea)
Ifraim is seeking a better life in the UK because he has not been able to find a job in France. He left Eritrea because of its repressive government and travelled to France through Sudan and Libya before crossing the Mediterranean into Europe (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Ifraim
Age: 27
Born: Eritrea

Amar, 17 (Afghanistan)
Amar has fled his country because of the conflict and wishes to seek asylum in the United Kingdom because he fears he would be killed by the Taliban if he returned to Afghanistan (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Amar
Age: 17
Born: Afghanistan

Talal, 35 (Kuwait)
Talal wishes to travel to the UK to find a better life and a good job (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Talal
Age: 35
Born: Kuwait

Masjid, 25 (Kuwait)
Masjid has tried to get on a Eurotunnel freight train to Britain nightly and is hopeful he will make it to the UK soon (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Masjid
Age: 25
Born: Kuwait

Mahmoud, 21 (Afghanistan)
Mahmoud fled Afghanistan because of the Taliban. He came to France by crossing Iran and Turkey then travelling north through Europe from Greece. He said he would be willing to die to make it to Britain and will enter the country any way he can (IBTimes/Elisa Iannacone)

Name: Mahmoud Akhnadi
Age: 21
Born: Afghanistan