Eritrean teenager happy to be in UK as he and others cross English Channel

A 17-year-old from Eritrea said he was happy to be in the UK when he arrived aboard a lifeboat on a Kent beach after the arduous journey across the English Channel.

He was among dozens of people picked up by the RNLI at sea and safely brought ashore on Dungeness Beach on Tuesday.

Others knelt as they reached the clapboard and raised their arms in apparent prayer after arriving in Britain after their perilous journey.

Despite the inherent dangers of dinghies in the Dover Straits, crossings resumed Tuesday after it was believed that around 785 migrants were intercepted by British authorities on the journey on Monday.

It comes as Interior Minister Priti Patel is expected to discuss the matter with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin at the three-day G7 interior ministers’ meeting in London.

Around 2:30 p.m., a lifeboat with about a dozen people landed in Dungeness, where they were picked up by immigration staff and police.

A woman wearing a black jacket and face mask carefully climbed down a ladder from the lifeboat, assisted by volunteers from the RNLI.

She told the PA news agency that she came from Iran when she was brought ashore.

As he was walking up the gravel to the lifeboat station, a young man told PA he was 17 years old.

The teenager added that he was happy to be in the UK and to come from Eritrea.

Later around 4:40 p.m., about 50 people boarded the all-weather lifeboat arrived in Dungeness.

When they were safely led ashore, several paused and kneeled on the gravel and raised their arms in prayer or celebration after reaching dry land.

Among the newcomers were two babies carried in the arms of adults.

The number of 785 people attempting to reach the UK on Monday is the second highest daily total for the year, after the one-day record of 828 set last month.

French authorities are also believed to have intercepted 14 crossings on Monday, preventing 378 people from reaching the UK coast.

Earlier this year, Ms Patel and her French counterpart announced an agreement to more than double the number of police patrols on French beaches.

It was the second such pledge in a year to prevent illegal migration and prevent small boats from leaving France.

As part of the deal, the government pledged to give France £ 54 million to aid its efforts to stop small boat crossings.

Since then, Ms. Patel has told MPs that she is ready to withhold the promised funds unless the number of migrants intercepted by French authorities improves, PA government sources have confirmed.

It is assumed that none of the money has been paid yet.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said British and French officials were “working on the implementation” of the deal and that “substantial” funding allocated in November had already resulted in increased patrols and “improved intelligence”.

He added: “After a long period of bad weather we have seen an increase in crossings as criminal gangs try to take advantage of the improved sea conditions.

“It’s still extremely dangerous. We remain determined to fix the broken asylum system and to break the business model of people smugglers who endanger lives and to welcome people in safe and legal ways. “

Labor Party’s shadow interior minister Nick Thomas-Symonds urged the government to focus on “finding a workable solution with the French authorities to combat heinous people-smuggling gangs and properly administer safe avenues to prevent that people risk their lives “.

According to PA, at least 12,500 people made the crossing to Great Britain in 2021.

The dangerous voyage along the busy Dover Strait shipping routes that separate Britain from the continent claimed several lives last month, including that of a man from Eritrea last month.

The 27-year-old died after he and four other people jumped overboard when their boat began to sink while trying to reach the UK.

The Home Office has repeatedly vowed to make the route “impracticable” with Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisting that Ms. Patel work “around the clock” to address the matter.

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