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First official refugee and migrant shelter opens in Paris

14.11.16

Opening of a shelter with 400 beds for single men is a part of an ongoing drive to help asylum-seekers living on the French streets.

The centre, in a disused railway yard near Gare du Nord station, will take in 50-80 people a day – the estimated number of migrants that arrive in Paris daily, most of whom end up sleeping rough. They will spend up to 10 days at the site where they will receive medical care and advice on seeking asylum before being transferred to a French “Welcome Centre”.

“The idea is to create a place where every newly arrived migrant can be welcomed and offered dignified, humane shelter,” said Bruno Morel, head of the Emmaus Solidarité charity running the centre.

A separate facility for families and women will open in early 2017 in the southeastern suburb of Ivry-sur-Seine. Unaccompanied minors will be sent to existing children’s shelters around the city.

The opening of the men’s centre comes a week after police cleared a camp in northeast Paris where 3,800 people – mostly Afghans, Sudanese or Eritreans – had been living in tents and mattresses under an overhead metro line.

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