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Sinking of a migrant boat off Calais: what we know about the tragedy that left 31 dead


Thirty-one migrants died on Wednesday 24 after their boat capsized in the Channel off Calais. Research is underway to find possible survivors. “France will not let the English Channel become a cemetery”, said Emmanuel Macron. “The Obs” takes stock.

The toll continued to increase during the day, reaching 31 people who died in the evening, according to a press release from the Elysee. This tragedy is the deadliest since the soaring in 2018 of the migratory crossings of the English Channel.

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According to the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin arrived on the spot, the boat had 33 migrants. They were trying to reach Great Britain. Among the victims are at least five women and a girl, the minister said.

Two people were rescued. Their days ” are in danger “, according to Gérald Darmanin.

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“The research will continue in the coming hours and tomorrow to see if there were other people in this makeshift boat”, he added. He evoked “Conditional” another missing person, in addition to the 31 dead. According to the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea, three helicopters and three boats are participating in the research.

  • Four people in custody

Four smugglers suspected of being “Directly linked” with the sinking were arrested, said Gerald Darmanin.

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“I want to say here that the people primarily responsible for this despicable situation are the smugglers”, added the minister in Calais. He also called for a “Very tough coordinated international response” in front of this drama “Which affects us all”.

The drama comes against the backdrop of the growing lockdown in recent years of the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel hitherto used by migrants trying to reach England.

Prime Minister Jean Castex will hold an interministerial meeting on this issue at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday with the Interior Ministers, Gérald Darmanin, Justice, Éric Dupond-Moretti, Armies, Florence Parly, de la Mer, Annick Girardin, of Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the Secretary of State for Europe, Clément Beaune, according to his services to AFP

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A crisis meeting was also called by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said he was “Shocked, revolted and deeply saddened”, and assured to want ” Do more “ with France to discourage illegal Channel crossings.

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“We had difficulty persuading some of our partners, in particular the French, to act up to the situation, but I understand the difficulties that all countries are facing”, he told Sky News after the meeting in Downing Street.

  • “France will not let the Channel become a cemetery”, reacts Macron

“We are all moved by this tragedy which strikes everyone in their privacy and in their values”, said President Emmanuel Macron in a press release from the Elysee Palace, expressing his “Compassion” and the “Unconditional support from France” to the families of the victims.

“It is Europe in what it carries most deeply – humanism, respect for the dignity of each person, which is in mourning”, he adds.

It calls into question the “Networks of smugglers who, by exploiting misery and distress, endanger human lives and ultimately decimate families”. ” France will not let the English Channel become a cemetery ”, he hammered.

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“France is acting, in conjunction with Great Britain, to dismantle the networks of smugglers” and “Since the start of the year, thanks to the mobilization of 600 police and gendarmes, 1,552 smugglers have been arrested on the North coast and 44 smugglers networks dismantled”, said the president, adding that “7,800 migrants were saved”.

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“Despite this action, 47,000 attempted crossings have taken place since January 1”, according to him. Consequently, the Head of State requests the “Immediate reinforcement of the resources of the Frontex agency at the external borders” and an “Emergency meeting of European ministers” on the subject.



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