In Depth

Refugee crisis: Calais Jungle children 'have nowhere to sleep'

Around 100 youngsters left in refugee camp after French demolition crews tear down tents and shelters

Eurostar targeted in Paris as migrant crisis deepens

30 July

In a sign that migrants attempting to reach the UK may be changing strategy, a young Egyptian was taken to hospital yesterday afternoon after the incident at Gare du Nord.  

According to Le Figaro, the man jumped from the roof of a regional train, hit an overhead power line and received an electric shock.

Eurostar trains are divided from other platforms at Gare du Nord by a high fence, and this incident will raise concerns that migrants have identified the terminal as another means of reaching England.

Meanwhile there are growing calls in the UK for the British Army to be deployed to deal with the worsening crisis, after it was revealed yesterday that a Sudanese man had been crushed to death under the wheels of a lorry while trying to storm the Channel Tunnel.

Tory MP Andrew Percy told the Daily Mail: "It is clear the current arrangements are not working and the French are unable to guard against these infringements of our border.

"It is time we considered more radical options, including the use of the Army. The British people expect our border to be secure and the Government must do whatever it takes to achieve this."

His comments were echoed by Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who told LBC Radio: "To make sure we've actually got the manpower to check lorries coming in to stop people illegally coming to Britain... we can use the Army or other forces."

British exasperation with the French authorities is growing, although neither David Cameron nor Home Secretary Theresa May has publicly criticised their counterparts across the Channel.

That was left to Tory MP Crispin Blunt, chairman of the Commons foreign affairs select committee, who is quoted in The Times as saying: "If this was reversed and these migrants were in Britain trying to get into France, we would have taken our responsibilities more seriously than the French. These people would have been detained and deported."

Calais crisis: man dies as 1,500 migrants storm Channel tunnel

29 July

A migrant has died after more than 1,500 migrants attempted to enter the Channel tunnel in yet another example of the escalating crisis in Calais.

The victim, who is believed to be a Sudanese national in his late twenties, was reportedly hit by a lorry. He is the eighth migrant to have been killed at the tunnel since June, Sky News reports.

Home Secretary Theresa May will chair an emergency Cobra meeting later today to discuss the crisis, as the British government pledges an additional £7m to boost security at the French port.

Although the extra funding will pay for 1.2 miles of new fencing at the Eurotunnel site at Coquelles, French authorities and Eurotunnel have urged the government to do more to stem the crisis.

David Cameron, speaking while on a state visit to Singapore, said he was "very concerned" about the situation, but advised against "trying to point fingers of blame". 

There are currently up to 3,000 people, including women and children, living in squalid camps in Calais dubbed 'The Jungle'.

"The situation is getting worse and worse, as the migrants have to find ever more dangerous routes to try and get to Great Britain," Cecile Bossy, a medical volunteer told The Guardian.

The crisis has escalated in recent months with a surge in new arrivals from Africa and the Middle East. The situation has also been exacerbated by a ferry workers' strike that began more than a month ago.

The latest incident has led to significant delays to Eurotunnel services and the reintroduction of Kent Police's Operation Stack which has led to long delays for lorries on sections of the M20, says the BBC.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has suggested that British troops be sent to Calais to help search vehicles for illegal immigrants. "In all civil emergencies like this we have an army [to help] a very, very overburdened police force and border agency," he told LBC.

But last week, Eurotunnel spokesperson John Keefe urged politicians to address the situation as a humanitarian crisis – not simply a border security issue."Everyone talks about 'the migrants' in a broad generalisation, but these are individuals with stories and lives, in many cases tragic histories that have brought them to this point," he told The Independent.

"They're living in dreadful conditions around Calais, and they just want one thing, which is to get to the UK."

Calais ferry strike 'costing UK £250m a day'

3 July 2015

The French ferry strike, which has shut down the Port of Calais for more than three days, is said to be costing the UK £250m a day.

MyFerryLink workers walked out on Monday over the sale of the company's ferries to rival company DFDS Seaways, causing disruption for lorry drivers on both sides of the Channel.

The bustling Port of Dover normally sees £100bn of trade go through its docks each year, according to the Daily Telegraph. The Port told the newspaper that this week's chaos was costing the UK at least £250m a day.

A 17-mile stretch of the M20 motorway in Kent has been turned into a giant lorry park, as more than 5,000 lorry drivers queue up.

With Britain experiencing blisteringly hot weather conditions, thousands of bottles of water and snack packs have been handed out to drivers as they face an indefinite wait to board ferries and shuttle trains to France.

It comes as the UK and French governments agreed to increase the joint intervention fund to improve security around the port and the Channel Tunnel, following scenes of migrants attempting to get into the UK. The Home Office would not comment on how much extra money would be committed to the fund under the agreement between Home Secretary Theresa May and her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve.

In a joint statement, the governments declared: "In light of the increased migration crisis in the Mediterranean and its repercussion on Calais, where there are currently 3,000 migrants, the two ministers decided to further strengthen co-operation, notably by increasing the intervention fund."

Meanwhile, the ever-controversial Paddy Power has again found its way into the headlines, after releasing a poster mocking the Calais immigration crisis. The bookmaker parked a lorry at the border at Calais and the White Cliffs of Dover featuring a giant poster that read "immigrants, jump in the back! (But only if you're good at sport)".

The Daily Telegraph says Harry Dromey, the son of acting Labour leader Harriet Harman, works for the advertising team responsible for the poster. However, Paddy Power insists Dromey had "zero involvement" in the project.

EU leaders urged to admit 'scale of the migration tragedy'

25 June 

Illegal migration will be a key issue at today's Brussels summit of European leaders, following chaos at Calais, where hundreds of migrants have been attempting to get into the UK on vehicles queuing to cross the Channel.

The Daily Mail claims that "overwhelmed" border guards caught 350 "stowaways bound for Britain" in the space of just four hours on Tuesday. Migrants attempted to break into the backs of cars and lorries that were left queuing for hours due to a strike by French ferry workers over job cuts.

One Ukip MEP, Nathan Gill, claimed there was a lack of political will in France to deal with it. "They are turning a blind eye," he told the Daily Express.

Today, Prime Minister David Cameron will be among EU leaders meeting in Brussels to discuss the migrant crisis.

It comes amid a dramatic increase in deaths of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean this year, with many fleeing instability and war in countries such as Syria and Libya.

According to the United Nations, the world currently has the highest number of displaced people seen in modern times, with four million refugees from Syria alone, mostly in Turkey and Jordan.

The Guardian points out that the scenes in Calais will "feed the prevailing narrative of fear about illegal immigration", but actually most illegal migrants enter Britain legally through Heathrow airport on visas that they later breach by overstaying.

The migrants outside Calais are "overwhelmingly fleeing war, oppression and poverty in search of opportunity and security". More than 3,000 are living in "increasingly squalid conditions" outside the French port, says the newspaper.

In an editorial, it urges EU leaders to "admit the scale of the migration tragedy and to accept greater responsibility towards some of its victims". The UK should accept a "fairer share" of refugees, it adds. "The human misery and people smuggling in the Mediterranean demand concerted action."

Calais crisis: desperate migrants exploit strike chaos at French port

24 June

Security at the ports of Calais and Dover is being increased after desperate migrants took advantage of the travel chaos induced by strike action to try to reach Britain.

Hundreds of migrants attempted to break into the backs of cars and lorries that were left queuing for hours due to a wildcat strike by French ferry workers over job cuts.

The industrial action also brought Eurostar, Eurotunnel and ferry services to a standstill, delaying thousands of travellers. All cross-channel services are now running as normal.

Immigration minister James Brokenshire described the situation as "hugely regrettable" and said additional security staff would be deployed to Dover.

"We have been advised the French authorities are sending further policing to deal with law and order issues, and we will be keeping in close contact with them in the hours ahead," he told the BBC.

But the chaos has sparked a diplomatic spat, with Brokenshire arguing that it is "ultimately" up to French authorities to "assure security and safety" at the port.

The deputy mayor of Calais, Philippe Mignonet, has in turn blamed Britain for the migrant crisis and accused the government of "showing that they despise the people of Calais".

This comes as aid as aid agencies warned of "catastrophic" conditions at the camps in Calais, dubbed "the jungle", where migrants lack basic sanitation, food and water and are becoming increasingly desperate.

There are now over 3,000 men, women and children living in the squalid camps, many of whom have fled conflict in the Middle East and Africa. Last week they took to the streets in protest holding banners saying: "we are not animals".

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