Paris is opening its first official refugee camp

Getting nowhere.
Getting nowhere.
Image: Reuters/Benoit Tessier
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Paris will open its first official refugee camp next month to deal with “unprecedented migration.”

Local authorities have grown increasingly concerned with the number of asylum seekers who are homeless in the city and living in dire conditions. Makeshift camps have cropped up in Paris’s public areas and on the streets, only to be cleared away sporadically by police, at times in tense encounters.

To accommodate for these pressures, the government is building two camps: the first, set to open in mid-October, will house hundreds of men in the north of the city. The second camp will open by year’s end and house women and children in the suburb of Ivry-sur-Seine. Local authorities hope to scale up the camps to accommodate 1,000 refugees, at an estimated cost of £5.4 million ($7.3 million). The camps will provide temporary shelter and medical aid for five to ten days before moving asylum seekers on to longer-term accommodation.

The government cleared away hundreds of migrants in the city hours before making the announcement, according to the BBC. Earlier this week, French protestors blocked access to the Channel Tunnel and the Calais ferry terminal, causing severe disruption. Protesters called on the government to close and disperse the Calais makeshift refugee camp, known as the jungle. Among the protestors was Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart, who said things were “becoming unbearable and something needs to be done,” according to the BBC.

France’s interior minister has vowed to dismantle the camp, which is now home to between 7,000 and 10,000 migrants and refugees.

On the other side of the border, the UK announced plans to erect a 13-foot high barrier, expected to cost £1.9 million, to stem the flow of migrants.