Human rights groups say it is up to the French government and not them to support migrants camped around Calais. Since 2002, several agencies have continued to feed migrants trying to flee illegally to Britain, but now they are saying enough is enough.
Armelle Deron from the association C’Sur said: ‘‘At the start, there were around 300 migrants. When they reached 400 last year we warned the authorities. Now there are more than 800. This is not possible any more. The state must live up to its responsibilities.’‘
The Red Cross centre at nearby Sangatte was closed 6 years ago, after Britain protested it was a magnet for illegal migrants. With only 4 showers in the area serving 800 migrants, even those are now closed. But not everyone agrees the state is to blame. ‘‘It’s not the state that’s forcing them to stay on the streets, it’s a deep willingness on the part of the migrants not to accept any other solution,’‘ said the Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchard.
The number of people trying to cross the English channel is expected to surge around the Christmas period. Some are trying to reach friends and family already in Britain. Nearly all believe they will have the chance of a better life there.