PARIS (Reuters) - A French court has ordered the authorities to build new toilets and water standpipes at the makeshift camp in Calais where thousands of migrants are living, hoping to reach Britain, a document seen by Reuters said.
Conditions around the tents and shanties, where some 6,000 migrants live in the dunes in what has become known as the “jungle” are at times squalid, with the stench of human excrement and bonfires hanging in the air.
Outraged at the living standards, medical charity Medecins du Monde and Secours Catholique, part of the Catholic charity Caritas, brought a lawsuit at the Lille administrative court - with a small group of migrants from Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria - to demand improvements.
In the referral order seen by Reuters on Monday, the court said the Calais region, in northwestern France, would have to put in place emergency measures such as a garbage collection system as well as the water taps and toilets within eight days.
All unaccompanied minors would have to be identified in order to allow them to be transferred to child welfare within two days, it said.
A lawyer for Medecins du Monde, Patrice Spinosi, said this was a “first victory” and he was ready to take more action if needed.
The court said it would fine the French region 100 euros ($110) per day if the sanitation measures were not completed on time.
The number of migrants in the Calais camp has doubled in the past weeks to close to 6,000 people, Pas-de-Calais region chief Fabienne Buccio told Reuters on Oct 16.
A spokesman for the region had no comment.
Reporting by Chine Labbe, writing by Matthias Blamont