Shelters Torn Down as Demolition Begins at Notorious Calais CampFeb. 29, 201600:50
PARIS — The number of migrants sleeping rough on the streets of Paris has risen by at least a third since the start of the week when the "Jungle" shanty town in Calais was evacuated, officials said.
Along the bustling boulevards and a canal in a northeastern corner of Paris, hundreds of tents have been pitched by migrants — mostly Africans who say they are from Sudan — with cardboard on the ground to try and insulate them from the cold.
While the presence of migrants there is not new, it has grown substantially this week, Colombe Brossel, Paris deputy mayor in charge of security issues, told Reuters.
Related: French Castle Will House Migrants From 'Jungle' Camp in Calais
"We have seen a big increase since the start of the week. Last night our teams counted 40 to 50 new tents there in two days," Brossel said, adding that there was now a total of 700 to 750.
This means there are some 2,000-2,500 sleeping in the area, up from around 1,500 a few days before, she said.
"It's not a huge explosion in numbers but there is a clear increase," she said. "Some of them come from Calais, others from other places."
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After years as serving as an illegal base camp for migrants trying to get to Britain, the "Jungle" was finally bulldozed this week and the more than 6,000 residents of the ramshackle camp near the English channel were relocated to shelters around France.
France's asylum chief Pascal Brice said the arrivals in Paris did not mean there had been a wholesale movement from the Jungle to the capital.
"There might be some movements at the margins (toward Paris) but what is crucial is that those 6,000 people have been protected," he told Reuters.
Related: France Begins Evicting 6,000 Migrants From 'Jungle' Near Calais
French President Francois Hollande said Saturday he had spoken with British Prime Minister Theresa May to convey the message that Britain should take its share of responsibility for minors from the Jungle.
There was tension this week between the two countries over how to take care of the young migrants. Hollande said 5,000 people had been evacuated from Calais and that there were 1,500 unaccompanied minors left, who would be transferred swiftly to other reception centers.
"I talked yesterday with the British prime minister, as (French Interior Minister) Bernard Cazeneuve did with his British counterpart, so that the British can go to those centers with those minors and take their share (of responsibility) to welcome them in Britain," Hollande said.
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Authorities in Paris said the newcomers did not come only from Calais. Others did but had arrived before the dismantlement of the camp.
Ama, a 24-year-old Sudanese who is six months pregnant, said she had come to Paris from Calais, but that was months ago.
"I was in Calais before but I did not find the route (to Britain)," she said. "I couldn't stay over there being pregnant, it was too hard."
Deputy Mayor Brossel said it was up to the central government, and not city authorities, to act.
"These people must be sheltered," she said.
The city of Paris has plans to open two migrant centers but they would only have a total capacity of fewer than 1,000 beds.