Hundreds of migrants still sleeping rough in Paris region amid coronavirus


Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and lockdown measures in place in France, hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers are still sleeping rough in the Paris region. Local NGOs are providing help as best as they can. FRANCE 24's Eléonore Vanel, Armelle Caux and Nadia Massih report.


On March 24, hundreds of migrants who had been living in a makeshift camp in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers were moved to hotels and sports centres, as part of the region's fight against COVID-19

"There were tents everywhere, stretching across the whole area. The tents were touching each other, it wasn't hygienic," said Christian Reboul from Doctors of the World, an NGO that had been sounding the alarm for weeks about the lack of proper sanitation conditions at the site.

In total, 732 migrants were evacuated from the Aubervilliers camp, but there are still several hundred, perhaps even thousands, on the streets. Volunteers from NGOs such as Utopia 56 are doing their best to find them and help them find suitable accommodation – including a parish church.

But not everyone ends up in shelters, so the volunteers are also conducting nightly rounds to see who needs help. We followed them as they distributed meals to homeless asylum seekers. Having noted the location of around 90 people on the streets, they'll now send the details to local government to try to encourage them to open more emergency accommodation.

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