France

David Cameron's 'swarm' of migrants yields 10th casualty

Migrants make their way across a fence near near train tracks as they attempt to access the Channel Tunnel in Frethun, near Calais, France, July 29, 2015.
Migrants make their way across a fence near near train tracks as they attempt to access the Channel Tunnel in Frethun, near Calais, France, July 29, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

The death toll of migrants attempting to cross the Channel into England went up on Thursday to 10, French authorities have said. This comes as increasing numbers risk their lives to reach Britain. The British Prime Minister David Cameron meanwhile has sparked controversy by comparing them to a 'swarm'.

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Migrants holed up in Calais made fewer attemps to reach the UK via the Eurotunnel terminal Thursday morning according to police.

It represents a sharp decline compared to the previous two nights, which saw over 2,000 attempts.

Nonetheless, British Prime minister David Cameron, on a visit to Malaysia, has blamed the crisis in Calais on “a swarm of people” trying to escape north Africa in an attempt to come to the UK.

His comments have sparked controversy among rights groups like the Refugee Council, which deem them to be "dehumanising."

They come as a tenth migrant died on Thursday after sustaining head injuries suffered in a weekend attempt to cross the Channel into England. It brings the number of such deaths to 10 since June.

If Cameron's remarks have also come under criticism it's because they're believed to be baseless, according to Paris' UNHCR representative, Philippe Leclerc.

"We definitely don't believe the UK is flooded with migrants, at least not with asylum claims," Leclerc told RFI's Fabien Jannic Cherbonnel.

According to the UNHCR, Britain is far from being migrants' first destination, usually beaten by countries like Germany, which last year received 179,000 claims compared to just 31,000 for the UK.

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