French officials have taken steps to improve the lot of thousands of migrants living in dastardly conditions in northern France, setting up containers with bunk beds in Calais, the largest camp, and approving plans to relocate another squalid camp outside nearby Dunkirk.

Migrants throng by the thousands to Calais and Dunkirk in a bid to sneak into Britain. But until Monday, authorities had done little to make life easier for migrants — from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea and elsewhere — because France and Britain are trying to dissuade them from coming.

A group of 140 people moved into the white containers with bunk beds in Calais, which has room for 1,500. And in Grande-Synthe, the mayor's office approved relocating a camp mired in mud to another location.