Reports of up to 2,300 asylum seekers living rough in the French port town of Calais have prompted French authorities to send 100 extra police officers to help with the situation.
After a fortnight of mayhem which saw protests by police unions and business owners, the death of a 16 year old Ethiopian girl who was run over by a lorry trying to stow away to Britain and gangs of desperate asylum seekers storming the borders, it seems that action may finally be taken.
Many scramble into lorries waiting for border checks in the hope of making it to Britain – a situation which is harder to control if there is any slight amount of traffic.
And violence broke out in one of the camps this week leaving the mayor, Natacha Bouchart, to say that the situation is spiralling out of control.
For the French residents, it’s an unfortunate situation over which they have no control.
Euronews reports one Calais resident saying: “They are poor people. They are in pursuit of happiness, elsewhere. Us, well what can we do? We are forced to watch, to be subjected to it. And, we’re getting used to the misery that surrounds us, without being able to do anything.”
Another gives a list of what’s lacking: “A special housing site needs to be created for them. They need to get health care, they need a place to wash. We have too many problems here.”
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the Front National is due to visit Calais today where she will have a strong message to those suffering from the migrant problem.
The rise in the number of migrants is linked to people desperately fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.
Britain has offered a 15 million euros package over three years to help secure the border but it is unconfirmed if this money has been used in Calais yet.
Meanwhile, the Daily Express reports that a day centre will be set up in Calais as part of a “humanitarian” response to the crisis.
French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the facility would provide medical and other facilities for mothers and children. He insisted that it would not encourage new migrants, but some people are worried that the centre could turn into another Sangatte, the Red Cross facility which was closed in 2002.
The facility will be in a leisure centre with kitchens to cater for 500 plus heating and toilets.
There are no sleeping facilities.
However given the squalid conditions which the thousand of migrants are living in currently, including tents made from plastic sheeting and fires with poisonous asbestos, it may be inevitable that may try to stay in the centre permanently.
Mr Cazeneuve told La Voix du Nord newspaper: “We will make sure the building of illegal camps is stopped.“
He said asylum applications would be processed quickly and asylum-seekers given shelter throughout France.
A ministry spokesman said the local council would pay for the centre – although Britain has already paid £12million to boost security in the overrun town in a response to the calls from French politicians that Britain was responsible because the asylum seekers were only in France in order to get to Britain.