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Refugees on the English Channel: In an overcrowded rubber dinghy on the high seas


Many people from Afghanistan or Iraq are daring the dangerous crossing to Great Britain despite the recent disaster. Anyone who stays in France out of fear will freeze in the makeshift camps - everything is missing.

Read the video transcript here

Night shots from a beach near the northern French municipality of Wimereux: The French police are looking for migrants to deter them from their dangerous plan to cross the English Channel illegally and in barely seaworthy boats.

As soon as an opportunity arises, a large group of migrants tries.


"Where are you going now?"

Refugees: »To Great Britain.«

Again and again people set off for the British coast - in overcrowded boats and in the winter cold.

It is unknown whether this group made it across the busy shipping lane.

On the same day, 27 people died in the English Channel because their boat capsized.

In a makeshift camp in the northern French municipality of Loon-Plage between Calais and Dunkirk, other refugees warm themselves over small fires last weekend.

Many of them have fled Afghanistan and Iraq from poverty and war.

Helpers distribute clothes, warm food and drinks or treat wounds that they have sustained on long walks through the cold.

Pascaline Delaby, NGO »Salam«: »They have nothing, no place to sleep, no roof over their heads, no showers or toilets.

It's very cold and it's raining.

Some sleep here only with blankets.

I got here at 9 a.m. a week ago and some people slept wrapped in blankets in the rain, nothing else. "

What is new is that people are now fleeing even in winter.

The volunteers worry that they will get pneumonia in the cold.

French officials had recently cleared a camp in the neighboring town to deter migrants from trying to cross the English Channel.

Kaiwan Khoshnow, Iraqi refugee: »We are like one big family. Friends here are like family members. That is why their families also ask us for help. They write to us all the time: What are you doing? What are you going to do? And say: stay there, don't go away. We are waiting to see what France and Great Britain can do for us. We're scared, that's why we're staying here. If we weren't afraid, we'd take the boat. "

France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany have now announced a tougher fight against smugglers after a crisis meeting on Sunday.

From December 1, an aircraft belonging to the EU border protection agency Frontex will monitor the coast of the English Channel, said France's Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

With the UK leaving the EU, it has become more difficult for the British to bring the newcomers back to EU countries.

According to French figures, almost 32,000 people have tried the dangerous crossing since the beginning of the year.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-11-29

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