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British channel tragedy: After dozens of people drowned, Britain and France broke out in a war of words


Ministers of both sides of channel On Thursday blamed their partners after dozens of people – including a young girl – drowned in frigid waters off the coast of France when their inflatable ship bound for Britain sank. This is one of the largest loss of life in the English Channel in recent years.

French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson both expressed horror at the tragedy, with Mr Macron declaring his country would not let the Canal become a graveyard. The leaders agreed to step up joint efforts to stem the flow of migrants crossing the border – which has increased dramatically this year – but also accused each other of not doing enough.

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

On Thursday morning, palmistry continued to play out between junior politicians.

Member of Parliament in Dover, England, home to many migrants from France, told CNN that the deaths in the Canal were “completely foreseeable” and referred to the issue as a border security issue. The solution lies in France.

“It’s a completely foreseeable tragedy that sooner or later one of these boats will capsize and everyone will die,” Natalie Elphike told CNN near the docks of Dover on Thursday.

“Everyone is safe in France, and the best way to keep people safe is to keep them ashore, not in the hands of people smugglers in the middle of the Channel,” she added.

The British politician added that the French “are standing where people get off boats and they don’t stop them. That’s where policy needs to change, on the French side.”

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin speaks to the media in front of a hospital in Calais, northern France, after at least 27 people died off the coast of the city.

Meanwhile, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin called for more support from its European neighbours, telling RTL radio on Thursday that France could not be “the only ones who can fight against the war” smugglers.”

“We are saying this to our Belgian friends … We are saying this to our German friends … And we are saying this to our British friends … , that they have to help us fight international smugglers who play along our borders,” said Darmanin.

When asked why the UK attracts so many illegal migrants, Darmanin points to the UK’s methods of managing migration and its thriving labor market. “There is clearly mismanagement of immigration in the UK,” he said.

Meanwhile, UK Immigration Minister Kevin Foster, told the BBC on Thursday the government was determined to “smash” the “really evil” business model of people-smuggling.

That includes finding ways to increase penalties for smuggling to life in prison and improve “safe” immigration routes directly from conflict zones or refugee camps, he said. Foster added that the UK has already begun paying France US$72 million in installments to tackle the crisis.

A deadly border crossing

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

Darmanin said that the two survivors of the tragedy were Somali and Iraqi nationals, who had “severe hypothermia” and had been transported to a hospital in Calais, northern France. According to Darmanin, of the 27 people killed, five were women, and one was still missing.

The narrow waterway between England and France is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Refugees and migrants fleeing conflict, terrorism and poverty in the poorest or war-torn countries are at risk of overcoming danger, often in dinghy unfit for travel. go and be at the mercy of the smugglers, in the hope of seeking asylum or economic opportunities in the UK.

Dozens of people died in the Channel tragedy, after the inflatable boat sank off the coast of France

According to Reuters

Migrants once managed to smuggle themselves on lorries that frequently crossed the Channel on ferries or rail links from France. But in recent years, that route has become more expensive, with human smugglers charging thousands of euros for each attempt.

So far this year, more than 25,700 people have crossed the English Channel in small boats, according to figures compiled by PA Media – three times the total for the whole of 2020. In the day alone On Wednesday, French authorities saved 106 lives. drifted on various boats in the Channel, and more than 200 people passed.

Earlier this month, French sports retailer Decathlon announced it would stop selling kayaks in some shops in northern France, to prevent people from using them to cross dangerous seas to England.

Mia Alberti, Mick Krever, Nic Robertson and Lindsay Isaac of CNN contributed to this report

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