UK ministers urged to ‘stop playing politics’ over Channel crossings | Refugees

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More lives will be lost in the Channel unless urgent action is taken to stop “playing politics with people’s lives”, ministers have been warned as desperate refugees vowed to keep attempting the perilous journey.

The grim prediction came as investigators tried to identify the bodies of at least 27 people, including a pregnant woman and three children and thought to be predominantly Kurds from Iraq, who drowned on Wednesday.

Images of their deflated grey rubber dinghy floating in the sea brought home the horror of the tragedy on Thursday, while a chilling mayday call emerged in which the made by French coastguard operator alerts ships to multiple bodies in the water. But cross-party MPs, experts and campaigners raised fears that the tragedy could be repeated.

Residents of makeshift camps around Calais and Dunkirk told the Guardian that hundreds of people have travelled to northern France via Belarus following a crisis on its border with Poland. Many…

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