Migrants begin new life outside France's 'Jungle' camp

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Young migrants leave 'jungle' refugee camp for new lives
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Young migrants leave 'jungle' refugee camp for new lives
A migrant stands near a suitcase with his belongings before departing the Calais camp called the "Jungle" to take classes at Lille University, in France, October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
A migrant carries a suitcase with his belongings before departing the Calais camp called the "Jungle" to take classes at Lille University, in France, October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
A group of migrants carry their belongings as they depart the Calais camp called the 'Jungle" to take classes at Lille University, in France, October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
A group of migrants carry their belongings as they depart the Calais camp called the 'Jungle" to take classes at Lille University, in France, October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
An adolescent Afghani migrant waves from a van as he departs with six others from the emergency shelter for minors in Saint Omer, France as they leave for Britain October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
Afghani adolescent migrants and their belongings are seen as they leave the emergency shelter for minors in Saint Omer, France, to travel to Britain October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
Afghani adolescent migrants and their belongings are seen as they leave the emergency shelter for minors in Saint Omer, France, to travel to Britain October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
An Afghani migrant adolescent leaves his room at the emergency shelter for minors in Saint Omer, France, as he prepares to travel to Britain, October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
Afghani adolescent migrants gather as they leave the emergency shelter for minors in Saint Omer, France, to travel to Britain October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
Some of the first group of unaccompanied minors from the Jungle migrant camp in Calais to be brought to Britain leave after being processed at an immigration centre in Croydon, south London, October 17, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
One of the first group of unaccompanied minors from the Jungle migrant camp in Calais to be brought to Britain smiles at a relative after he was processed at an immigration centre in Croydon, south London, October 17, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
One of the first group of unaccompanied minors from the Jungle migrant camp in Calais to be brought to Britain embraces a relative after he was processed at an immigration centre in Croydon, south London, October 17, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
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MERIGNAC, France Oct 14 (Reuters) - In a dank flat in southwestern France, 23-year-old Nasir stares at a living room wall bare except for a list of emergency numbers and contemplates life for his asylum-seeking family outside the migrant camp in Calais that had become home.

Nasir volunteered his family for resettlement days before France is expected to begin dismantling the violence-ridden camp in Calais known as the "Jungle," where disease is rife and traffickers prey on individuals desperate to reach Britain.

SEE ALSO: Seventeen migrants missing after late-night Mediterranean rescue

The two-story apartment block in Merignac, a grey suburb on the outskirts of Bordeaux, is one of about 160 so-called reception centers where President Francois Hollande's Socialist government plans to re-house temporarily the Jungle's dwellers.

There are few signs of the social workers Nasir is told will visit frequently, but Merignac's town hall has given the family food vouchers worth 80 euros for the week.

"We feel good. It looks like someone cares a little bit about us," Nasir said in broken English. "We'll watch TV here. We'll rest!"

Not everyone supports President Francois Hollande's plans for the Jungle's closure. Many of the nearly 10,000 migrants aid agencies estimate are holed up in the camp still target Britain, and a group of charities this week sought a court injunction to block the camp's demolition.

Amid a fiery debate on immigration and border controls ahead of a presidential election next year, opponents have turned up the heat on Hollande's immigration policy.

Hollande has been at pains to find a solution to the Jungle, which has become a symbol of the European Union's struggle to stem the inflow of migrants as its member-states bicker over who should take responsibility.

Anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise in France, reflected in the growing popularity of the far-right National Front. Gunshots have been fired at two planned reception centers and one mayor wanted to hold a local referendum on whether to accept his town's quota of migrants, exposing the resistance in parts of the country to Hollande's plans for the Calais migrants.

See the partial dismantling of the Calais camp earlier this year:

10 PHOTOS
Dismantling of Calais migrant camp, refugees
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Dismantling of Calais migrant camp, refugees
Anti-riot policemen face migrants on February 29, 2016, during the dismantling of half of the 'Jungle' migrant camp in the French northern port city of Calais. Two bulldozers and around 20 workers began destroying makeshift shacks, with 30 police cars and two anti-riot vans stationed nearby. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Migrants on a shelter roof look at an anti-riot policeman on February 29, 2016 in the 'jungle' migrants and refugees camp in Calais, northern France, as agents dismantle the southern half of the sprawling camp in the port town. A French court on February 25 gave the green light to plans to evacuate hundreds of migrants from , with many wanting to stay near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, the gateway to their ultimate goal of Britain. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
A migrant and an anti-riot policeman walk near a shelter in fire on February 29, 2016 in the 'jungle' migrants and refugees camp in Calais, northern France, as agents dismantle the southern half of the sprawling camp in the port town. A French court on February 25 gave the green light to plans to evacuate hundreds of migrants from , with many wanting to stay near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, the gateway to their ultimate goal of Britain. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Migrants stand next to bags near a shelter reading 'a place to live' on February 29, 2016 in the 'jungle' migrants and refugees camp in Calais, northern France, as agents dismantle the southern half of the sprawling camp in the port town. A French court on February 25 gave the green light to plans to evacuate hundreds of migrants from , with many wanting to stay near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, the gateway to their ultimate goal of Britain. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
CALAIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 28: Migrants walk along a railway line near the 'jungle' camp on February 28, 2016 in Calais, France. The French authorities have begun dismantling part of the jungle encampment and relocating migrants to purpose-built accommodation nearby. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
CALAIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 28: A tent is pictured in the 'jungle' camp on February 28, 2016 in Calais, France. The French authorities have begun dismantling part of the jungle encampment and relocating migrants to purpose-built accommodation nearby. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
CALAIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 28: A migrant fills up a water bottle in the 'jungle' camp on February 28, 2016 in Calais, France. The French authorities have begun dismantling part of the jungle encampment and relocating migrants to purpose-built accommodation nearby. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
CALAIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 27: Migrants walk past new purpose-built accommodation near the 'jungle' camp on February 27, 2016 in Calais, France. The French authorities have begun dismantling part of the jungle encampment and relocating migrants to purpose-built accommodation nearby. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
CALAIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 28: A migrant enters new purpose-built accommodation near the 'jungle' camp on February 28, 2016 in Calais, France. The French authorities have begun dismantling part of the jungle encampment and relocating migrants to purpose-built accommodation nearby. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
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CAUTIOUS WELCOME

In Merignac, run by a left-wing mayor, residents living near the social housing block that once housed local teachers voiced wary sympathy for the resettled migrants.

"We've lost all perspective. I'm not bothered as long as they don't mess things up for us here," said bar owner Pascal Thieblemont.

Merignac mayor Alain Anziani acknowledged local anxieties. He said the 32 places his municipality was making available would not be located at a single site.

"We don't want to create a ghetto," said Anziani, adding some residents had expressed concern their housing needs would come second to the migrants.

Under the government plan Anziani said the migrants would spend on average two months at the reception center to rest, receive medical checks and recover from their months-long ordeal in the Jungle before being relocated to await the outcome of their asylum demands - requests which could be rejected.

Yet in a sign the process may not prove smooth, Nasir's neighbor Fazlullah Qadri said he had been waiting three months at the reception center without any word on his refugee status.

Qadri flicked through photographs of corpses and beheaded bodies in his home city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan. "Look, I know this person," he said intermittently. "I have these dreams at night. I still can't sleep."

In the early afternoon the shutters in Nasir's flat are still down and curtains closed. He says his 21-year-old wife Nabila isn't ready to venture outside the flat, though he has.

"It was great, no one came up to tell me what to do," Nasir beamed, talking enthusiastically about his plans to learn French and read books on European cities. But his first priority is his wife.

"We need to see a doctor. She still has a bullet stuck near her heart dating from when she was a youngster in Afghanistan."

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