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Channel Migrant Drownings: Live News and Updates from France and U.K.

Channel Migrant Drownings: Live News and Updates from France and U.K.
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Channel Migrant Drownings: Live News and Updates from France and U.K.

Channel Migrant Drownings: Live News and Updates from France and U.K.

ImageThe migrants on the second boat were rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat and brought to Dungeons on the southeast coast of England on Wednesday.
Credit …Ben Stansel / Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

The second day after 27 people died trying to cross the English Channel, when their inflated boat capsized during a perilous voyage, the leaders of France and England vowed to crack down on migrant crossings, although they responded sparingly to one of the deadliest routes. Disaster in recent years involving migrants trying to cross the narrow waterway that separates the two countries.

French authorities confirmed that the drowned included children and a pregnant woman, as staff tried to exhume the bodies in the cold and wind and identify the dead. Two people, one from Iraq and one from Somalia, were found and taken to a French hospital, where they were being treated for severe hypothermia.

The tragedy is that even five years after the authorities demolished a large refugee camp in Calais, both countries are still struggling to cope with the influx of migrants from the region.

France and Britain have accused each other of not doing enough to curb efforts to cross the Channel. In the wake of Wednesday’s accident, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said more efforts should be made to conduct joint patrols on the French coast.

And French President Emmanuel Macron said he expected the British to “fully co-operate and refrain from using this dramatic situation for political purposes”.

The two leaders spoke on the phone late Wednesday and in a later statement said they agreed to step up efforts to prevent migrants from traveling through the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

Under an agreement between the two nations, Britain pays France to monitor and control the crossing through patrols.

Mr Johnson said he was “shocked and horrified and deeply saddened” by the loss of life at sea in Chanel. But, he added: “I also want to say that this disaster underscores how dangerous it is to cross the channel in this way.”

Mr Macron called for immediate tightening of border controls and increased action on human trafficking with other European nations.

“France will not allow Chanel to become a cemetery,” he said in a statement.

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The sinking took place just days after French and British authorities agreed to do more to curb the flow of people into the sea.

Attempts to reach Britain in small boats have increased in recent years as authorities have cracked down on the smuggling of asylum seekers by truck through ferries or channel tunnels.

According to French officials, since the beginning of the year, 47,000 attempts have been made to cross the Channel by small boat and 7,800 migrants have been rescued from the shipwreck. Seven people had been killed or missing so far this year before Wednesday.

Many immigrants – who come from African or Middle Eastern countries like Iraq and Eritrea – consider Britain an ideal place because English is spoken, because their families or compatriots are already there and it is relatively easy to find. – Books work.

But the recent increase in attempts to cross the English Channel by boat reflects changes in how migrants are traveling, according to migration experts and rights groups.

Crossings have become another factor in the strained relations between France and Britain, with conflicts over fishing rights and trade inspections following Britain’s exit from the European Union, as well as the submarine alliance between Australia, Britain and the United States. The former French treaty.

Credit …Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

On a clear day, it is possible to see the white rocks of Dover from France. The English coast can be seen up close, and over the years, it has attracted immigrants who have already traveled to Europe and hope to reach Britain where they feel they are waiting for better opportunities.

About three dozen people, including men, women and children, were described by French authorities as “extremely delicate” inflating boats that split the two nations into strong currents and freezing water.

It is one of the busiest shipping routes in the world and shows the dangers inherent in short distance crossings. Many travelers are helped by smugglers who fill them with small dinghies, which are overcrowded and unbalanced.

French Interior Minister Gerald Dermanin said authorities believed that about 30 people had gathered on a fragile ship, which he compared to “a pond in your garden.”

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A report in the French media said the migrant boat was hit by a container ship, although French officials said the disaster was still under investigation.

On Thursday, Mr. Darmanin told RTL Radio that several crossings started the same way.

“Dozens, sometimes hundreds of migrants, take to the shores of the storm to reach England in temporary ships, too early, often at high tide,” he said.

On Wednesday afternoon, a fishing boat alerted maritime authorities that several people had been spotted in the water off the coast of Calais. Ships and helicopters soon launched search and rescue operations.

Two people, one from Iraq and one from Somalia, were found and taken to a French hospital, where they were being treated for severe hypothermia. The boat itself was found to be completely wrecked, officials said. It was not immediately clear how many people were missing as of Thursday morning.

And the task of identifying the dead was likely to be complicated by the fact that many immigrants had disposed of their identity cards before crossing. The prosecutor’s office in the northern French city of Lille, which is investigating the crash, said Thursday that the dead included 17 men, seven women, two boys and a girl. It was not immediately clear on Thursday where all the migrants in the group came from.

Mr Dermanin said authorities suspected the ship had been bought in Germany by a smuggler with German license plates on his car. The smuggler and four others were arrested and are suspected of having links to the disaster, Mr Dermanin said, although the Lille prosecutor’s office said the connection had not yet been clearly established.

Sixty to seventy percent of migrants trying to reach Britain come from Germany or the Netherlands, and from Belgium go to France and try to cross faster, Mr Darmanin added.

“Smugglers pick them up and try to bring them to the beach in a few days,” he said. “It’s an international issue.”

Credit …Franइसois Lo Presti / Agency France-Press – Getty Images

Following the deaths of 27 migrants in an attempt to cross the English Channel, France’s interior minister on Thursday called on European countries to work together to eliminate the human trafficking network, but called Britain’s stance on undocumented migrants’ policies on British soil “very liberal”.

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“Britain and France must work together,” Mr Dermanin told RTL radio, noting that smugglers who hunted for migrants, demanding thousands of euros in exchange for unsafe routes on trivial ships, were most responsible for the situation.

But Mr Dermanin also criticized the “attractiveness” of the British labor market, which he said was too lax. “Everyone knows that there are more than a million undocumented migrants in Britain and that British employers use that workforce,” he said.

He said that despite Britain’s total population and large number of undocumented immigrants, France deported more immigrants than Britain. “Immigration is badly handled in Britain,” he added.

Mr Dermanin said countries such as Belgium and Germany needed to work more closely with France to eradicate the human trafficking network. France has arrested more than 1,500 smugglers since January, he said, but their networks operate across borders and require close co-operation in neighboring countries.

Mr Dermanin said French authorities suspected, for example, that the shipwreck on Wednesday had been bought in Germany by a smuggler with German license plates on his car. The smuggler and four others have been arrested in connection with the shipwreck.

Sixty to 70 percent of migrants trying to reach Britain came from Germany or the Netherlands, and then from Belgium to try to cross into France quickly, Mr Darmanin added.

“Smugglers pick them up and try to bring them to the beach in a few days,” he said. “It’s an international issue.”

Mr Darmanin said there were 15 times fewer migrants in the area than 15 years ago, with about 1,000 in Calais and another 1,000 in the area around Dunkirk and Grand-Synthe. French authorities distribute about 2,200 meals a day to migrants, he said, and 12,000 of them have been displaced since January.

But Didier Leschi, director of the French Office of Immigration and Integration, another French official, said authorities had recently seen an increase in sea crossings – in some cases up to 50 per night.

“There are more paragraphs in the English Channel today than in the Aegean Sea,” Mr Leschi said in an interview, referring to the sea between Turkey and Greece, which was crossed by several refugees at the height of the migration crisis in 2015.

Mr Leschi said he could not recall the “significant tragedy” as of Wednesday’s death, but that it was unrealistic to observe dozens of miles of coastline as migrants headed for the channel, as it would require “thousands upon thousands of people. Police officers.”

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