Channel crossings tripled in 2021

The sinking of a makeshift ship (Small boat), which occurred on Wednesday 24 November and claimed the lives of twenty-seven people, highlights these migrants who are trying to cross the English Channel to reach the British shores from the outskirts of Calais. From 1is January, the death toll rises to 30 dead and 4 missing.

Read the history: Article reserved for our subscribers After the death of 27 immigrants in a shipwreck off Calais, the anger of the associations

The Canal and North Sea Maritime Prefecture estimated, on 25 November, the number of crossing attempts since the beginning of the year from the French coast to the United Kingdom, with a total of 33,083 people. The maritime prefecture ensures that 8,200 people were returned to France during rescue operations. On the British side, at least 25,792 immigrants have managed to reach Kent, according to figures from the British Home Office, compiled by the Press Association press agency.

This represents more than three times more arrivals than last year (almost 8,417 in 2020) and fourteen times more than in 2019 (1823).

The Gris-Nez (Cross) regional surveillance and rescue operational center, which coordinates rescues at sea in an area of ​​competence that runs from the Belgian border to Cap d’Antifer, a few kilometers west of Etretat, underlines, in his last activity report, to “Mass of departures” in 2021 – “Now it is a structural phenomenon, destined to last.” Due to the intensification of customs, administrative and health controls on the way to the United Kingdom, linked to Brexit, improvised boats are becoming the preferred means of passage for migrants. La Cruz also notes an increase in the average number of migrants per ship, from thirty to fifty people.

Read the reactions: Article reserved for our subscribers After the sinking of migrants in the English Channel, Boris Johnson asks France for a better collaboration

After this accident, Paris and London, whose relations are stormy on migration issues, among others, agreed “The urgent need to intensify the fight against illegal crossings” during a telephone interview between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron.

On the side of the associations, the urgency is to establish legal channels for migration. “As long as safe passageways are not established between England and France, or as long as these people cannot be regularized in France, there will be deaths at the border.”he said to World the person in charge of Utopia56.

Despite the approach of winter and deteriorating weather conditions, the pace of crossings shows no signs of slowing down, as it did in late 2020. On the contrary, records for the number of people who crossed continue regularly. be surpassed: 1,185 November 11, 853 on November 3.

Regina Anderson

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