Paris will open its first refugee camp in mid-October, Mayor Anne Hidalgo said Tuesday. France is planning to take hundreds of people off the streets as the country struggles to accommodate migrants.
The emergency shelter will be solely for men and will have an initial capacity of 400. The shelter will be housed on an old railway site in the north of the country’s capital, the Mayor said.
Asylum-seekers will be allowed to stay there for “five to 10 days” and receive medical care while waiting for a place in a refugee hostel, the Socialist mayor told reporters.
France has not been on the frontline of the vast influx of migrants to Europe in the last 18 months, with many refugees seeing it mainly as a transit country to other destinations in northern Europe.
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But it has an acute shortage of accommodation for asylum seekers, leaving many people to fend for themselves.
Hidalgo said a second centre, for women and children only, will be opened in Ivry-sur-Seine to the southeast of Paris by the end of the year, she added.
The 6.5-million-euro ($7.2 million) Paris shelter will open in an area where hundreds of migrants have been sleeping rough, on the pavement or under railway bridges. By the end of 2016 it will have 600 beds.
The camp will be located not far from Paris’s Gare du Nord train station, which is the main terminal for Eurostar trains to London.
The women’s shelter will have 350 places.
Hidalgo, who had announced in May that she would set up a camp in Paris, called it a “first for Europe” and said it was France’s duty to accommodate migrants in “humane” conditions
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