by Han Qian
PARIS, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- In Paris, most people have switched on holiday mode to celebrate Christmas and New Year, but not the refugees living on the streets.
Refugees lined up before dawn in front of a humanitarian center in north Paris, hoping to get a place to sleep. This is an everyday scene here in this chilly winter.
The humanitarian center, built by local authorities, has the capacity to accommodate 400 refugees for a period of five to 10 days, after which they are transferred to different reception centers across France.
Since its official opening in early November, the center has always been full. Each day only a dozen to 30 places become vacant compared to the 70 to 80 refugees waiting outside.
Refugees from Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and other countries gather each day around the center in the evening, spending their night in the cold, hoping to be accepted in the morning.
Since the beginning of 2015, an unprecedented wave of refugees has come to Paris. As a result, train and subway stations in the city have become temporary refugee camps.
In early November, the French police dismantled a camp near the Stalingrad metro station, clearing out more than 3,800 refugees. Similar operations continue in places where refugees attempt to build new makeshift camps.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the setting up of the humanitarian center in May this year. But limited reception capacity and temporary shelter for up to 10 days make the center weak and insufficient in addressing the issue of the resettling refugees in Paris.
In addition, the center carries out administrative examinations of refugees, with an average of about 30 interviews per day. The number marks less than half of the refugees assembling outside the center every day.
One of the volunteers working on site told Xinhua there is an urgent need to set up more humanitarian centers.
"The biggest challenge now is to have an enormous reception capacity, to build more humanitarian centers in order to receive all the refugees. It's ridiculous that compared to those we are helping here, more refugees are still living in the street," said Flora, one of the volunteers with a humanitarian association.
"Today, I still won't get a chance," said Aboubakar, a Somali refugee, "There is no good solution here. Everyday only 10-15 people get a chance to enter."
Data show in 2015 nearly 80,000 refugees asked for asylum in France, while only 26,700 got refugee status.
French Minister of Housing Emmanuelle Cosse said the government needs to invest at least 15 million euros (15.68 million U.S. dollars) a year in refugee accommodation, adding there is no "magic wand" to solve the problem but responsible, structured and sustained policy.
Not only France, but the whole of Europe has grappled with the large influx of refugees since early 2014, the biggest wave of refugees the continent has received since World War II.
However, facing harsh reality, many refugees still expect Europe to bring them good luck and new life.
Aboubakar told Xinhua he hopes to get a good life in the new year in France: "I have to forget what I had experienced coming from my country and the problems I had in the country; that's why I came in here."