At least 27 migrants drowned Wednesday after the inflatable dinghy capsized while trying to cross the English Channel from France.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 34 people were on the boat. Two people have been rescued and one missing in the worst tragedy involving bilateral migrants, according to Reuters.
Without explanation, the Ministry of Home Affairs later revised the initial death toll to 27, according to Agence France-Presse. The nationality of the immigrants was not immediately revealed.
Dalmanin said the survivors suffer from hypothermia.
“It’s a catastrophe for France, for Europe, and for humanity to see these people being tossed by smugglers perish in the sea,” Reuters said.
Dalmanin said in a tweet that smugglers are responsible.
“The responsibility for this tragedy is, above all, the responsibility of smugglers, who endanger the lives of men, women and children without any problems,” he wrote.
French police have arrested four suspected people involved in drowning and have begun an investigation into manslaughter.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex reiterated Dharmanin’s feelings.
According to the BBC, “my thoughts are on many missing and injured, victims of criminal smugglers who abuse their pain and injuries,” he said.
According to the Washington Post, French President Emmanuel Macron urged the European government to better address the movement of migrants across the channel.
“France will not turn the strait into a graveyard,” Macron said in a statement.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired an emergency meeting on Wednesday’s tragedy.
“My thoughts and sympathy are with the victims and their families, and it’s scary that they are suffering. But this disaster emphasizes how dangerous it is to cross the waterways in this way. “There is,” Reuters said.
Johnson added that more needs to be done to disperse the trafficking gang.
This channel is a common crossroads for immigrants who are increasingly using it to reach the UK from France.
As of Monday, the BBC reported that the number of migrants arriving in the UK by row in 2021 was three times the total in 2020. Earlier this month, more than 1,000 migrants arrived in one day.
This route is also one of the busiest routes in the world, and the dinghy can capsize to its strong tides.
French police have succeeded in preventing more crossings in recent years, but only partially eased the wave of immigrants trying to reach Britain, according to Reuters.
The continued flow of immigrants across the channel and how to deal with it is a source of tension between Britain and France.
Some information in this report is from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.
At least 27 immigrants die across the English Channel
SourceAt least 27 immigrants die across the English Channel