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409 people cross English Channel in record day

A Border Patrol dinghy brings a group of migrants, believed to have been picked up from boats in the Channel, into harbour at the port of Dover, on the south-east coast of England on August 9, 2020. [GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images]
A Border Patrol dinghy bring a group of migrants, believed to have been picked up from boats in the Channel, into harbour at the port of Dover in England on 9 August 2020 [GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images]

Over 400 people have crossed the Channel in one day making it a record day for crossings.

The day before, some 145 people crossed.

The narrow strip of water connects France to Britain and is a regular route used by refugees who want to get to the UK.

Although it is relatively short, it’s a dangerous journey due to the low temperature of the water and the strong undercurrents.

In August a 16-year-old Sudanese teenager washed up on a beach near Calais after he drowned trying to get to the UK.

Abdulfatah Hamdallah and another minor were on a tiny dinghy using shovels as oars before they ran into difficulty, fell off the boat and tried to reach safety. Only one of them survived.

READ: Banksy buys rescue boat to save refugees in central Mediterranean

There have been calls to implement safer routes for people seeking asylum so they do not attempt the lethal journey across the Channel.

The UK government has been asked to process asylum seekers’ claims in France so they do not get onto the small boats.

The British government has received widespread condemnation for its handling of the refugee crisis, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying it is working with France to make the journey across the Channel “unviable”.

The Ministry of Defence has recently confirmed that a British Army drone used in war zones will fly above the English Channel to monitor boats making the crossing.

At the end of August, the Home Office released a video attacking “activist lawyers” who were delaying and disrupting migrant deportations.

The video was taken down following sharp criticism from legal bodies, politicians and academics.

READ: Remembering Alan Kurdi

As politicians ramp up the anti-immigrant rhetoric, influential figures outside the government have sought to help refugees in distress.

At the end of August, street artist Banksy bought a rescue boat to save refugees in distress trying to get from north Africa to Europe.

In one day, it rescued 89 refugees from the central Mediterranean.

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