Migrants sleep rough in Paris as winter approaches

Photo credit: MSF

TMP – 01/12/2017

Two NGOs, Médecins du Monde (MDM) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), report that around 1,000 migrants are sleeping rough on the streets in Paris, mainly scattered across the north-east of the city and in the borough of Seine-Saint-Denis.

Migrants are often without any kind of covers or tents.
“The rain and the police make it unbearable here. The rain forces us to huddle under bridges and once we’ve set up shelter, the police turn up and tell us to move on,” a Sudanese migrant told MSF.

“In the middle of the night the police wake us up and make us move. Each time we ask them ‘Move on, but where to? Where can we go?’ Every time they tell us ‘I don’t know, just leave,’” he continues.

MSF say their medical teams see the health of migrants worsening every day and that this is likely to get worse in winter..
“The temperature has dropped and migrants are still living on the streets without a housing solution,” said Corinne Torre, MSF Head of Mission in France.
“Because of the terrible conditions they face, there is a real risk of an increase in skin infections and scabies.”

Jemal, a migrant from Ethiopia, who has been in Paris for one month, believes life on streets is worse than the refugee camps in Africa.
“[In Africa] the UN camps can be chaotic and precarious, but at least most of the time we had a tent, something to eat, access to information and we were safe. Here the only information we get is rumours and the police prosecute us as if we were criminals.”