Thursday, December 2, 2021

At least 27 migrants die while crossing the English Channel

At least 27 migrants drowned on Wednesday when their inflatable dinghy capsized while trying to cross the English Channel from France.

French Interior Minister Gerald Dormanin said 34 people were on the boat. Two were rescued and one is missing, according to Reuters, in the worst recorded tragedy involving migrants between the two countries.

Without explanation, the interior ministry later revised the initial death toll to 27, according to Agence France-Presse. The nationality of the migrants was not immediately clear.

Darmanin said the survivors suffered from hypothermia.

“It is a disaster for France, for Europe, for humanity, these people who are at the mercy of smugglers, perish at sea,” he said, according to Reuters.

Darmanin said in a tweet that the smugglers are responsible.

He wrote, “The responsibility of this tragedy lies above all on the traffickers who endanger the lives of men, women and children without proper investigation.”

French police have arrested four people suspected of being involved in the drowning and have launched an investigation into the murder.

French Prime Minister Jean Casteux echoed Darmain’s sentiments.

According to the BBC, he said, “My thoughts are with the many missing and injured, victims of criminal trafficking, who take advantage of their distress and injury.”

French President Emmanuel Macron calls on European governments to better address migrant movements across the channel Washington Post,

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

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired an emergency meeting on Wednesday on the tragedy.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with the victims and their families, and it is a horrific thing that they have suffered. But this disaster underscores how dangerous it is to cross the Channel in this way,” he told Reuters. Said accordingly.

Johnson said more needed to be done to disband the human-trafficking gang, which he said were “really getting away with murder.”

The Channel is a common crossing for expatriates, who are increasingly using it to reach Britain from France.

The BBC reported that as of Monday, the total number of migrants arriving in the United Kingdom by boat in 2021 was three times higher than in 2020. Over 1,000 migrants arrived in a day earlier this month.

The channel is also one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, and its strong currents can overturn dinghies.

French police have been successful in preventing more crossings in recent years, but have only partially quelled waves of migrants trying to reach Britain, according to Reuters.

The constant flow of migrants across the Channel, and how to address it, has been a source of tension between Britain and France.

Some information for this report has been received from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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