Over 70 child refugees have arrived in Britain from Calais, the first wave of child refugees to be brought into the country – without family ties with anyone – under a government pledge to take in unaccompanied minors. The decision to accept migrants was announced in May.

According to BBC, child refugees arrived at the Lunar House Immigration Centre in Croydon, South London at around 7pm on 22 October.

Volunteers at the Calais camp said that a group of 54 girls, mostly from Eritrea were also being brought to UK under the Dubs amendment, the Guardian reported. They added that around 500 child refugees at the camp could be eligible to enter Britain.

Lord Dubs, a labour peer and a former child refugee, who earlier urged the government to give sanctuary for vulnerable children who are unaccompanied, said that the initiative was a "great start".

"I'm delighted that, at long last, it has finally happened and children who qualify under the amendment are being brought to safety. We must remember there is much more to do and many more children who need protection, but this is a great start," he said.

Previously, young refugees were brought to the UK under Dublin Regulations, which required them to have relatives in the UK.

Bishop Jonathan Clark, Citizens UK spokesperson said: "It's great to see government acting on what Citizens UK have been calling for, and transferring these children to Britain.

"Not just children seeking to reunite with their families, but also the most vulnerable who are at last being transferred to Britain under the provisions of the Dubs amendment, including many young girls, who have arrived today."

The arrivals come as demolition teams will move into the camp on Monday and clear an estimated 6,500 people who will be sent to reception centres across France.

Deputy executive director of Unicef UK, Lily Cparani said, "Once the demolition starts there are no second chances. If it results in a single child going missing, or forces them into the hands of smugglers and traffickers, then we will have failed them."

Meanwhile, there were reports suggesting that some children looked older than teenagers. Tory MP David Davies said that the 14 young people who arrived on Monday (18 October), "did not look like children".

Calais minors
One of the first group of unaccompanied minors from the Jungle migrant camp in Calais to be brought to Britain smiles at a relative after he was processed at an immigration centre in Croydon, south London on 18 October 2016 Peter Nicholls/ Reuters