The migrant crisis: 27 die while crossing English Channel from France to UK


Record levels of migration happening as crisis and conflicts take place in various regions (Photo: IANS)

Nearly 27 migrants die while crossing English channel.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said this was the biggest tragedy involving the migrants in the channel till date. Darmain said that 34 people are believed to be on the boat.

Both the UK and France launched a joint operation by air and sea to look for survivors. They fished out 31 bodies and two survivors. One person is still believed to be missing.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "I am shocked, appalled and deeply saddened by the loss of life at sea in the Channel. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. Now is the time for us all to step up, work together and do everything we can to stop these gangs who are getting away with murder."

The BBC reported that four people had been arrested near the Belgian border for suspected links to the tragic crossing.

Both Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to step up efforts to prevent the crossings and stop human trafficking gangs from putting people's lives at risk, the Downing Street said in a statement.

Macron has called for an "emergency meeting of European ministers concerned by the migration challenge". He added that this year 1,552 smugglers had been arrested in Northern France and 44 smuggler networks dismantled.

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The International Organisation for Migration said that the incident is the biggest single loss of life in the English Channel that connects France and the UK since it began collecting data in 2014.

The rescued migrants are being treated in the French town of Calais.

The BBC says that a record number of migrants are attempting to cross over from France into the UK.

With increased migration happening into Europe from conflict-torn countries in the Arab world and Afghanistan, Europe has tightened its borders. The European Union (EU) has decided to impose sanctions against transport companies that are believed to be smuggling people into the continent with false promises.

The UK government also announced in July this year that it will overhaul its asylum system to make it a criminal offence to arrive in the country without permission.