Calais and Grande-Synthe, a tale of two radically different migrant camps


In its latest attempt to reduce the enduring migrant crisis in the Channel port of Calais, where thousands of people live in insalubrious conditions while hoping to find a passage to Britain, the authrities have built an austere residential camp made out of converted shipping containers. Just several kilometres along the coast, near Dunkirk, where a similar crisis is developing, the Doctors Without Borders NGO has built, in cooperation with the local mayor, an unofficial camp of wooden huts that could not be more different, where it says the aim was to make migrants “feel at home”. But the concept is clearly not shared by the government. Carine Fouteau reports.

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At first sight, there is no great difference between the two camps, hurriedly built to shelter hundreds of migrants living in appalling conditions in makeshift shanty-towns on wasteland in the French Channel port of Calais and the nearby town of Grande-Synthe.