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France to send extra police to Calais after migrant dies

A sweat shirt is stretched over the barbs to protect asylum seekers who climb over the fence near the railroad tracks close to the Channel Tunnel site in Calais, northern France, July 29, 2015.
A sweat shirt is stretched over the barbs to protect asylum seekers who climb over the fence near the railroad tracks close to the Channel Tunnel site in Calais, northern France, July 29, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

France is to send 120 extra police officers to Calais in a bid to secure the Eurotunnel, the French interior minister announced on Wednesday. One man was crushed by a lorry on Tuesday night attempting to enter the Channel, along with 1,500 migrants. Services there say nightly incursions are increasing.

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"Europe is facing an extraordinary migration crisis," Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters on Wednesday.

France's interior minister was reacting to the worsening situation in Calais, which saw a young Sudanese asylum seeker killed on Tuesday night whilst attempting to enter the Channel Tunnel.

Police have reported repeated breaches of the security fence by groups of around 50 migrants at a time. On the night where the Sudanese migrant lost his life, 1,500 others tried to charge the barrier surrounding the Eurotunnel.

Bernard Cazeneuve, who was in London on Monday to discuss the Calais crisis with the Home Secretary Theresa May, has blamed Eurotunnel for the abrupt surge in numbers at the freight terminal.

"Eurotunnel needs to take its responsibility to secure the site" he said, whilst at the same time announcing that Paris would be sending 120 extra police officers to Calais, on top of the 300 officers already in the northern town.

Eurotunnel - which manages and operates Channel Tunnel services -says it has intercepted more than 37,000 migrants since January, through its own means, and invested 160 million euros to secure the Channel Tunnel and double its staff numbers.

"The pressure being exerted on us every evening goes beyond our means," the company said in a press release, calling for "appropriate action from member states."

The UK government has agreed an extra 10 million euros to help improve security at Calais and the Channel Tunnel.

Security breaches at the freight terminal, which sprawls over 2,700 acres, are at their worst for several years, owing to Calais being a favoured crossing point for migrants attempting to reach the UK.

At least 2,200 acts of trespass were recorded at the terminal on the night of Monday to Tuesday, by migrants essentially from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, all in search of a better life, no matter what the risk.

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