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World English Channel tragedy: After dozens drown, England and France ramp up war of words

14:45  25 november  2021
14:45  25 november  2021 Source:   cnn.com

French police evacuates migrants from makeshift camp

  French police evacuates migrants from makeshift camp GRANDE-SYNTHE, France (AP) — French police on Tuesday have evacuated migrants from a makeshift camp near Dunkirk, in northern France, where at least 1,500 people gathered in hopes of making it across the English Channel to Britain. Migrants, including some families with young children, could be seen packing their few belongings as police were encircling the camp early Tuesday morning, on the site of a former industrial complex in Grande-Synthe, east of Dunkirk.

British and French leaders have ramped up a war of words over dangerous crossings of the English Channel after at least 27 people died making the sea journey Wednesday, bringing to a head simmering tensions in the migration crisis.

A man wheels a gurney into a warehouse in the Port of Calais, France, where it is believed the bodies of migrants are being transported after recovery from a boat which capsized off the French coast with the loss of 31 lives on Wednesday. An emergency search was sparked when a fishing boat sounded the alarm after spotting several people in the sea off the coast of France. Authorities found 31 bodies and two survivors while one person was missing. Picture date: Wednesday November 24, 2021. (Photo by PA Images/Sipa USA) *** US Rights Only *** © PA/Sipa A man wheels a gurney into a warehouse in the Port of Calais, France, where it is believed the bodies of migrants are being transported after recovery from a boat which capsized off the French coast with the loss of 31 lives on Wednesday. An emergency search was sparked when a fishing boat sounded the alarm after spotting several people in the sea off the coast of France. Authorities found 31 bodies and two survivors while one person was missing. Picture date: Wednesday November 24, 2021. (Photo by PA Images/Sipa USA) *** US Rights Only ***

Ministers from both sides of the Channel on Thursday laid blame with their counterparts after dozens of people -- including a young girl -- drowned in bitterly cold waters off the French coast when their inflatable vessel bound for Britain sank. It is one of the largest losses of life in the English Channel in recent years.

In the cold sea, migrants cast off for England from a French beach

  In the cold sea, migrants cast off for England from a French beach In the cold sea, migrants cast off for England from a French beachWIMEREUX, France (Reuters) - Bundled from the cold in black woolly hats and puffy coats, some in red life jackets, they hauled the rubber dinghy on their shoulders and heads under a steely November sky, over the dunes towards the beach.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin speaks to the press in front of a hospital in Calais, northern France, after at least 27 people died off the city's coast. © Francois Lo Presti/AFP/Getty Images French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin speaks to the press in front of a hospital in Calais, northern France, after at least 27 people died off the city's coast.

French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson both expressed horror at the tragedy, with Macron saying his country would not let the Channel become a graveyard. The leaders agreed to step up joint efforts to prevent the migrant crossings -- which have increased dramatically this year -- but also accused each other of not doing enough.

Police seal off the area around the rescue operation at France's Calais harbor on November 24. © Kiran Ridley/Getty Images Police seal off the area around the rescue operation at France's Calais harbor on November 24.

In a phone call on Wednesday night, Macron went further and urged Johnson to stop politicizing the migrant crisis for domestic political gain, according to a French readout of their conversation.

31 Migrants Die in English Channel After Boat Launched from France Capsizes

  31 Migrants Die in English Channel After Boat Launched from France Capsizes British and French authorities have called it the "biggest tragedy" involving immigrants in the crossing.The boat, which launched from France, had 34 people on board when it capsized in the dangerous crossing. According to the Associated Press, a French naval ship had spotted bodies floating in the water of both deceased victims and injured survivors. So far, 31 people had died, two have survived, and one passenger is still missing.

On Thursday morning, the finger-pointing continued among junior politicians.

The Member of Parliament for Dover, England, where many migrants arrive from France, told CNN that the deaths in the Channel were "entirely foreseeable," and cast the problem as a border policing issue whose solution lay in France.

"This was an entirely foreseeable tragedy that sooner or later one of these boats would capsize and people would die," Natalie Elphike told CNN near Dover's harbor Thursday.

"People are safe in France, and the best way to keep people safe is to keep them on shore, not in the hands of people smugglers in the middle of the Channel," she added.

The British politician added that the French "are standing by where people are getting into boats and they're not stopping them. That's where the policy needs to change, on the French side."

Meanwhile French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin urged more support from European neighbors, telling radio station RTL on Thursday that France cannot be the "only ones who can fight against smugglers."

Migrant boat capsizes in English Channel; at least 31 dead

  Migrant boat capsizes in English Channel; at least 31 dead CALAIS, France (AP) — At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France’s interior minister called the biggest migration tragedy on the dangerous crossing to date. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 34 people were believed to have been on the boat. Authorities found 31 bodies — including those of five women and a young girl — and two survivors, he said. One person appeared to still be missing. The nationalities of the travelers was not immediately known. © Provided by Associated Press French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin answers the press in Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.

"We are saying this to our Belgian friends ... We are saying this to our German friends... And we are saying this to our English friends, that they must help us to fight against the smugglers who are international, who play with the borders," Darmanin said.

Asked why the UK attracts so many illegal migrants, Darmanin pointed to Britain's methods of managing migration and its thriving labor market. "There's obviously mismanagement of immigration in Britain," he said.

The UK's Immigration Minister Kevin Foster meanwhile, told the BBC Thursday that the government is determined to "smash" the "really evil business model" of people-smuggling.

That included looking to increase penalties for smuggling to life in prison, and improve "safe" immigration routes directly from zones of conflict or refugee camps, he said. Foster added that the UK has started paying France $72 million in installments to tackle the crisis.

A deadly crossing

Five people-smugglers have now been arrested in connection with Wednesday's deadly sea crossing, Darmanin told RTL Thursday. He added that one of the smugglers arrested on Wednesday night had "German license plates" and "bought these boats in Germany."

Channel deaths fuel UK-France tensions over migrant boats

  Channel deaths fuel UK-France tensions over migrant boats LONDON (AP) — The deaths of at least 27 people in the English Channel is fueling tensions between the U.K. and France over how to stop migrants from crossing the world’s busiest waterway in small boats. Despite a pledge from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron that they would “do everything possible” to stop people smugglers from endangering lives, politicians on both sides of the channel are already blaming their counterparts for failing to prevent Wednesday's tragedy.

Darmanin said that the two survivors from the tragedy are Somali and Iraqi nationals who suffered "serious hypothermia" and were transferred to hospital in Calais, northern France. Among the 27 dead are five women, with one person still missing, according to Darmanin.

The narrow waterway between Britain and France is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Refugees and migrants fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty in the world's poorest or war-torn countries risk the dangerous crossing, often in dinghies unfit for the voyage and at the mercy of people smugglers, hoping to claim asylum or economic opportunities in Britain.

Darmanin said the migrants' dinghy had collapsed, and when rescuers had arrived it was "deflated like an inflatable garden pool," according to Reuters

Migrants once sought to smuggle themselves aboard the trucks that regularly crossed the Channel on ferries or by rail from France. But in recent years that route has become more expensive, with people-smugglers charging thousands of euros for each attempt.

So far this year, more than 25,700 people have crossed the English Channel to Britain in small boats, according to data compiled by PA Media news agency -- three times the total for the whole of 2020. On Wednesday alone, French authorities rescued 106 people adrift in various boats in the Channel, and more than 200 people made the crossing.

Earlier this month, French sports retailer Decathlon announced it would stop selling kayaks in some stores in northern France, in a bid to prevent people using them to make the dangerous sea crossing to England.

In Iraq, family mourns victim of tragic Channel death .
IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Snow globes, teddy bears and makeup brushes — these were the trinkets left behind in northern Iraq by Maryam Nouri who perished this week along with at least 26 others in an ill-fated voyage with dreams of reaching the United Kingdom. A wake for Nouri, called Baran by her friends and family, was held in Soran on Sunday in the Kurdish semi-autonomous northern region. Male relatives sat outside the family home, counting prayer beads in her remembrance, in line with local customs. Her body has not yet reached Iraq, pending legal issues, they said.

usr: 1
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