KABUL – The UK government has been warned that unless immediate action is taken, more migrants will lose their lives while attempting to cross the English Channel in small boats. The tragic deaths of six Afghan refugees have spurred UK MPs from various political backgrounds and campaigners to urge ministers to address the issue of dangerous boat crossings.
French authorities have officially identified the victims of the recent boat sinking incident in the English Channel were Afghan men believed to be in their 30s. One casualty passed away after being airlifted to a Calais hospital, while the remaining five were pronounced deceased upon their rescue by a French lifeboat.
Recent UK government figures revealed that a record number of 755 people crossed the Channel in small boats on a single day, with the total since 2018 exceeding 100,000. Additionally, 343 people in six boats were detected crossing in one day, bringing the provisional total for the year to over 16,000.
Aid workers are concerned that migrants arriving at the French coast are determined to make the dangerous crossing to the UK, taking advantage of the relatively calm summer conditions.
The British Refugee Council has issued a warning that more lives will be lost unless safer routes to the UK are established for these migrants. Enver Solomon, the council’s chief executive, emphasized the need for meaningful action to reduce perilous crossings and urged the government to focus on creating a humane asylum system.
Steve Smith, the CEO of refugee charity Care4Calais, described the deaths as a preventable tragedy. He emphasized that each victim was an individual with a family and urged for the establishment of safe passages to prevent further loss of life.
Experts interviewed for an investigation into criminal gangs involved in the small boat trade stated that the flimsy construction of these vessels makes additional deaths inevitable. Labour shadow cabinet minister Bridget Phillipson called for tougher government action against these criminal networks to prevent more tragedies.
Conservative MP Sir Jake Berry emphasized the need for radical changes to address the ongoing crisis, urging moral responsibility towards both citizens and asylum seekers. Regis Holy, captain of a lifeboat involved in the rescue, acknowledged the determination of migrants to make the crossing, despite the risks.