North French town shuts migrant night shelter

2nd January 2015, Comments 0 comments

Authorities in the northern French town of Calais on Friday shut a shelter that had been opened because of freezing weather for migrants trying to get into Britain.

The town hall said it would no longer offer migrants overnight accommodation in an industrial hangar near the busy port "having taken account of the rise in temperatures".

The hangar had been open the past seven nights, taking in around 150 to 200 people per night who slept on mattresses and judo mats.

"More than 500 different people came," said David Lacour, head of the Solid'R group that managed the programme, adding that it had been a very "pleasant" atmosphere.

He said many migrants took it in turns to spend the night in the hangar so that their tents around the port would not be stolen.

Calais is the main staging post for migrants trying to reach Britain from continental Europe without official documents, usually by smuggling aboard one of the thousands of trucks that leave via the port and cross by ferry every day.

Around 2,300 migrants, mostly from Sudan, Eritrea and Syria, live in the makeshift tent village in Calais known as "the jungle".

The town hall is expected to open a day facility for migrants in April with toilets and showers.

© 2015 AFP

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