Johnson shocked by the deaths of migrants crossing the Channel, calls on France to do more – .

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Johnson shocked by the deaths of migrants crossing the Channel, calls on France to do more – .


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog (not visible) in London on November 23.PISCINE/AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “shocked and dismayed” by the deaths of at least 31 migrants in the Channel on Wednesday, and called on France to do more to deter people from attempting the crossing.

The victims drowned after their dinghy capsized as they attempted to cross France to England, in the worst disaster on record involving migrants in waters between countries.

“I just want to say that I am shocked and dismayed and deeply saddened by the loss of life I see in the Channel,” Johnson said after chairing an emergency committee meeting on the tragedy.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with the victims and their families, and it is in a terrible situation that they suffered. But this catastrophe underlines how dangerous it is to cross the Channel in this way.

Johnson added that more needed to be done to break down the gangs of human traffickers, who he said were “literally getting rid of a murder.”

The number of migrants trying to cross the English Channel, the world’s busiest seaway, has jumped in recent months after the British and French governments cracked down on other forms of illegal entry, such as hiding behind trucks crossing the ports of France.

Johnson said Wednesday’s disaster showed France must do more to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel. He asked France to authorize joint beach patrols with British officials.

“Our offer is to increase our support, but also to work together with our partners on the beaches concerned,” he said.

“We have struggled to persuade some of our partners, especially the French, to do things in a way that we think the situation deserves. “

More migrants left the northern coasts of France than usual on Wednesday to take advantage of calm sea conditions, according to fishermen, despite the water being very cold.

Franck Dhersin, deputy head of regional transport and mayor of Teteghem on the north coast of France, told Reuters the death toll had reached 31 and two people were still missing.

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