at the minimum 30 migrants have died after their inflatable boat sunk in the English Channel, a French official has said.
“What I know is that there were 50 people on this boat. What I have heard is that there are 30 people who have died, and about five or six who have been found,” Jean-Marc Puissesseau, the president of the ports of Calais and Bolougne, told the BBC.
Earlier, Franck Dhersin, the mayor of Teteghem, told the television channel France 3 at the minimum 24 people had died, adding that a further 26 people had been rescued.
A French coastguard official confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that a rescue operation was underway off the coast of Calais, after a fishing boat sounded the alarm.
Responding to the fatalities, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who is heading to the scene, described the event as a “tragedy”.
Meanwhile, the Labour peer Lord Dubs, who fled the Nazis and reached England as a refugee in 1939, told The Independent that the British government must ensure that refugees with a connection to Britain be given a “legal and orderly” way of reaching the country.
The latest deaths come after a rise in Channel crossings this year. More than 25,700 people have made the dangerous journey from France to the UK so far in 2021, more than three times higher than the total in 2020.
at the minimum 30 migrants feared dead, says Calais port boss
at the minimum 30 migrants have died after their dinghy sank in the Channel earlier, according to the president of the ports of Calais and Boulogne.
“What I know is that there were 50 people on this boat. What I have heard is that there are 30 people who have died, and about five or six who have been found,” Jean-Marc Puissesseau told the BBC.
Rory Sullivan24 November 2021 17:47
Boris Johnson must commit to resettling at the minimum 10,000 people per year, says Red Cross
Over at the British Red Cross…
Mike Adamson, the organisation’s chief executive, described the reports from France as “truly heartbreaking”, noting that today’s fatalities come after other recent deaths on the route.
“Our thoughts are with their loved ones, who may not already know in addition what has happened,” he said.
“Nobody puts their life at risk unless they are absolutely desperate and feel they have no other options.
“Everyone deserves to live in safety and it should be unacceptable to us that people have no choice but to make dangerous crossings in their search for this.”
Mr Adamson urged the government to rethink its asylum plans, which will be make the UK “harder to access”. He additional that it should instead offer “new safe routes and a commitment to resettle 10,000 people a year”.
Rory Sullivan24 November 2021 17:41
End ‘cruel and ineffective’ government asylum policy, says Refugee Council
Let’s now turn to the reaction from refugee organisations.
Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said: “It’s heart-breaking to hear that the lives of more ordinary people have been lost on a harrowing journey to Britain in search of safety.
“How many tragedies like this must we see before the government fundamentally changes its approach by committing to an ambitious expansion of safe routes for those men, women and children in desperate need of protection?
“Every day, people are forced to flee their home by no fault of their own. Now is the time to end the cruel and ineffective tactic of seeking to punish or push away those who try and find safety in our country.”
Rory Sullivan24 November 2021 17:35
Labour calls on government to offer ‘safe, legal routes’ for migrants
The government must offer “safe, legal” routes for migrants wishing to claim asylum in the UK, a shadow cabinet minister has said.
Here’s the shadow justice secretary David Lammy’s reaction to the events unfolding off the French coast:
Rory Sullivan24 November 2021 17:32
Liberal Democrats blame government over Channel deaths
The Liberal Democrats have blamed the government for the deaths of at the minimum 24 migrants in the Channel earlier today.
Alistair Carmichael MP, the party’s home affairs spokesperson, said: “This is heartbreaking news. People are dying in the Channel because of the government’s total failure to get a grip on this crisis.
“Priti Patel must stop her pointless posturing and take action to stop these dangerous crossings, by providing safe and legal routes to sanctuary for refugees.”
Rory Sullivan24 November 2021 17:29
PM chairs Cobra meeting to discuss Channel tragedy
Boris Johnson is this afternoon chairing a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee to discuss the Channel tragedy.
A No10 spokesperson said: “The chief minister will chair a Cobr on the situation in the Channel this afternoon.”
Andrew Woodcock24 November 2021 17:24
UK government must ensure refugees can reach UK in ‘legal and orderly manner’, says Lord Dubs
Lord Dubs has called on the government to enhance its relations with France to ensure that asylum seekers do not lose their lives.
The Labour peer, who reached England as a refugee shortly before the Second World War, said: “I think it is a terrible tragedy and that makes it worse is that many of us expected that this would happen sooner or later.”
“I grieve for the families who lost someone in the Channel. We need urgently to enhance our relationships with France on this issue, because the only way we can lessen the impact of the vile traffickers is by cooperating closely with the French authorities.”
“We also need to ensure those refugees – particularly children – who have family links or other connections with Britain are allowed to come here in a legal and orderly manner.”
Rory Sullivan24 November 2021 17:13
Disaster a ‘tragedy’, says French chief minister
The French chief minister has said his thoughts are with those who lost their lives in the Channel earlier this afternoon.
“The shipwreck in the English Channel is a tragedy. My thoughts go out to the many who have died or been injured, victims of criminal smugglers who adventure their distress and poverty,” he said.
Rory Sullivan24 November 2021 17:10
French interior minister proves ‘numerous deaths’
The French interior minister Gerald Darmanin has confirmed the tragedy that took place in the Channel today.
“Strong emotions in light of the tragedy of the many dead due to the shipwreck of a boat of migrants in the English Channel,” he tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.
“We can never say enough of the criminal character of smugglers who organise these crossing. I’m going to the scene.”
Rory Sullivan24 November 2021 17:07
at the minimum 24 migrants dead after boat capsizes in Channel
Dozens of migrants have died after an inflatable dinghy capsized off the coast of France on Wednesday, a local mayor has said.
Franck Dhersin, the mayor of Teteghem, told the television channel France 3 that 24 people had died and that 26 others had been rescued.
Rory Sullivan24 November 2021 17:01
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