Heated tents for women and children at Calais camp

2015-10-22 05:22
Unidentified Sudanese migrants prepare food outside their makeshift tents in the New Jungle migrant camp. (AP)

Unidentified Sudanese migrants prepare food outside their makeshift tents in the New Jungle migrant camp. (AP)

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Calais - France's interior minister on Wednesday reinforced security in the port city of Calais and said women and children would be given heated tents as migrants and refugees in a makeshift camp face the bitter cold.

The so-called "New Jungle" camp, which is around an hour away on foot from the centre of the northern French city, has swelled in size over recent months as more and more migrants arrive, wanting to cross over to Britain.

About 6 000 people are now camped out there in cold temperatures, and as winter approaches, aid groups fear that conditions in the area will deteriorate further.

Bernard Cazeneuve, who visited Calais for the seventh time as the migrant crisis shows no sign of abating, said more police would be deployed in the area and that a centre that houses women and children would offer 400 places by the end of the year from the current 200.

"In the meantime, heated tents will be set up... by the end of the week," he said, promising that "no woman, no child will remain without a shelter in this city".

With the additional police forces announced by Cazeneuve, about 1 125 officers will be deployed in Calais and the surrounding areas, from where migrants and refugees from the horn of Africa, Middle East or Afghanistan try to cross to Britain on board trucks, ferries or through the Channel Tunnel.

Tighter security has meant the number of illegal crossings to England - which numbered up to 150 per day in August - have slowed.

But many migrants and refugees remain in the "New Jungle" camp, whose winding slum-like alleys are dotted with crude shelters made of wood and salvaged material.

Earlier this week, Calais Mayor Natacha Bouchart raised the prospect of bringing in the army to watch over the camp "in which we don't really know what is going on". 

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