Paris refugee shelter opens to take migrants off streets
A refugee shelter with beds for 400 single men has opened in Paris, part of an ongoing drive to take asylum-seekers off French streets after the demolition of the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp.
The centre in a disused railway yard near Gare du Nord station can accommodate 50-80 people a day – the estimated number of migrants who arrive in Paris daily, most of whom end up sleeping rough. They can spend up to 10 days at the site, where they will be provided with medical care and advice on seeking asylum before being transferred to various refugee hostels.
Three Eritreans with backpacks and woolly caps were among the first to arrive at the site, where they were greeted by a “Welcome” sign in French, Arabic, Pashto, Dari and other languages. “It’s nice here,” said Thierno Diallo, a Guinean after he entered the new shelter.
According to the Paris town hall, 60 men were housed in the camp by Thursday evening. The plan is to process those in the centre quickly and move them on elsewhere to free up places for new arrivals. The centre is made up of a giant inflatable white-and-yellow reception hall and a 10,000 sqm hangar with dormitories, bathrooms, a canteen and a games area.