(REUTERS) – Paris will house close to 1,000 migrants in two camps to tackle the growing number of men, women and children fleeing war and poverty who are sleeping rough on the French capital’s streets, the city’s mayor said on Tuesday.
The building of the two camps in the capital comes as the government faces pressure to dismantle a swollen shanty town dubbed the ‘jungle’ near the port of Calais, whose inhabitants are blamed by residents for an increase in crime and the ailing local economy.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said one camp would be built for men, the other for vulnerable women and children, with the first site opening in mid-October.
“We have to come up with new ways of overcoming the situation. Things are saturated,” Hidalgo told a news conference. “These migrant camps reflect our values.”
Hidalgo said the camps would be temporary and cost 6.5 million euros to set up, of which the Paris municipal authorities would cover 80 percent.
While France has been much less affected by Europe’s migrant crisis than neighbouring Germany, thousands of asylum seekers use it as a transit point in the hope of reaching Britain.
Truck drivers, farmers and Calais business owners on Monday blocked traffic on the motorway approach to Calais demanding a deadline for the dismantling of the “jungle”.
(Reporting by Chine Labbe; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Richard Balmforth)