More lives will be lost in the straits unless urgent action is taken to stop doing politics with people’s lives. Ministers have been warned because desperate refugees have vowed to continue their dangerous journey.
A bleak prediction came as investigators attempted to identify the bodies of at least 27 people, including a pregnant woman and three children, believed to be mostly Kurds from Iraq who drowned on Wednesday.
Images of a deflated gray rubber dinghy floating in the sea brought home the horrors of the tragedy on Thursday, and a horrifying Mayday call from French coast guards alerting ships to the bodies of several submerged bodies. But ruling party lawmakers, experts and activists have raised fears that the tragedy could be repeated.
Residents of makeshift camps around Calais and Dunkirk told The Guardian that hundreds of people have traveled through Belarus into northern France after the Polish border crisis. Many have pledged to push ahead with their plans to move to England in search of a better life, and throughout Thursday new people continued to land in Dover.
French Coast Guard Mayday call after audio of boat capsized
On Thursday night, Boris Johnson wrote a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron, suggesting five steps to avoid repeating drowning. This includes joint patrols to prevent boats from leaving French beaches. technologies such as sensors and radar; mutual maritime patrol and air surveillance; better sharing of information to arrest and prosecute smugglers; Bilateral Returns Agreement with France along with negotiations to establish a UK-EU Returns Agreement.
Macron has previously defended the move in Paris, but said France is only a stopover for many migrants and that more European cooperation is needed to tackle the problem of illegal immigration.
On his visit to the Croatian capital, Zagreb, President Macron will make it clear that our security forces are mobilized day and night, promising maximum mobilization of French forces as reserve forces and drones monitor the coast.
Folkestone’s Conservative MP Damian Collins told the BBC that if France doesn’t increase patrols on its northern beaches, there will be more deaths. Interior Minister Pretty Patel said it was up to France to take steps to prevent further tragedies.
Humanitarian groups agreed that more deaths were likely, but disagreed about potential solutions. Instead, it urged the UK government to introduce new safe and legal routes and to strengthen existing routes, such as resettlement schemes. Beth Gardiner-Smith, CEO of Safe Passage International, has called on Patel to resign and warns of more tragedies to come.
Since the government shut down safe routes to the UK last year, more and more people are risking frozen and frightening trips across the strait in small, unstable boats, she said. Governments that choose to run politics at the risk of their people’s lives have not been able to stop people from endangering their crossings, and this is the result.
In the shade of an unused warehouse at Grande-Synthe east of Calais, Sivan told reporters that he had traveled from Iraq to France and would continue planning the crossing. We just want to live. I wasn’t afraid to cross. It is better to cross.
The drowning victims are believed to be mainly Kurds from Iraq, including 17 men, one pregnant woman out of seven women and three children. Two male survivors, an Iraqi and a Somali, were being treated at Calais Hospital for exhaustion and hypothermia.
Prosecutors have launched an investigation in Lille, and five men have been arrested in connection with the case. The fifth suspect, arrested on Thursday morning, drove a car with a German license plate and purchased an inflatable boat in Germany.
The boat, carrying at least 29 people, is said to have departed from Runeplage near Dunkirk. They probably camped on the sand dunes near Grande-Synthe.
People waiting to cross at Grande-Synthe told the Guardian that many had arrived via Belarus, where many are alleged to have created a border crisis with neighboring Poland in retaliation for EU sanctions. The growing number of people arriving in Calais via Belarus underscores the increasingly complex picture European governments are facing in addressing the refugee crisis.
The Interior Ministry declined to comment on the impact of the Belarusian crisis on migration flows, while the British government doubled its stance on France. Johnson, who held a cobra meeting on Wednesday to discuss the case, suggested that the French government has not always approached the crossing problem in the way we think makes sense.
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