GRANDE-SYNTHE, France – French authorities plan to evacuate more than half the migrants living in a camp on the English Channel.
Housing Minister Emmanuelle Cosse announced the plan Friday at the camp in Grande-Synthe, a suburb of Dunkirk, where people fleeing war and poverty in the Mideast and Africa have come in hopes of sneaking into Britain.
She says "with 1,500 people, it is impossible to manage" the camp properly. She said authorities will move asylum-seekers to special reception centers to reduce the camp's population to 700.
Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux wants the camp dismantled because of recent fires and knife attacks. Dunkirk Mayor Damien Careme opposes an abrupt closure but says the camp is seeing increasing cases of scabies and rats.
France closed a larger, unkempt refugee camp in Calais last year.