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Three children in critical condition after lorry rescue

Credit: Google Maps

Three children are in a critical condition, suffering from severe dehydration, after being rescued from a lorry in Austria containing 26 refugees on Friday.

The lorry carrying refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh was stopped in the small town of St. Peter am Hart, close to the German border, local police said.

The 29-year-old Romanian driver was arrested, while the children and their parents were taken to the hospital in a nearby town of Braunau.

"It was a very close call," David Furtner from the Austrian police said, adding the children had been dizzy due to dehydration in the hot and sticky lorry. Medical staff said they had only hours to live.

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EU launches mission to disrupt people smugglers

Royal Marines from HMS Bulwark help rescue migrants stranded on a boat, thirty miles off the Libyan coast. Credit: PA

The EU has agreed to use planes, boats and drones to disrupt people smuggling from north Africa to Europe.

The first phase of the multi-national naval operation will focus on "surveillance and assessment" of the criminal networks that enable the dangerous Mediterranean crossings but later stages of the mission could involve military action against the smugglers.

But ministers warned a UN Security Council resolution would be needed before later stages of the operation could begin.

Migrant deaths increase 50 times over in 2015, UN claims

Almost 900 migrants and refugees have died since January 1 this year, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency - almost 53 times as many as the 17 who died during the same period last year.

These stark figures come in the aftermath of a shipwreck which killed as many as 400 African migrants making the dangerous crossing between Libya and Italy this week.

The UNHCR today said it was "deeply shocked" at this latest tragedy, while a forthcoming report from Amnesty International shows a continued rise in the number of migrants and refugees making the trip as the weather improves, and violence and instability continues in countries like Libya, Syria and Eritrea.

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UK and EU 'must do more' to help refugees

The head of the Refugee Council has called on the government to increase the number of resettlement places it offers to refugees.

Read: UK offers up to 750 resettlement places for refugees

Refugee Council chief executive Maurice Wren said Britain has a proud tradition of protecting refugees and it must increase the opportunities afforded to those attempting to flee persecution.

The UK and wider EU can and should increase the number of resettlement places they provide.

Resettlement is a vital protection tool for refugees whose lives and liberty are at risk; a long term solution for refugees and an expression of solidarity with developing countries who host the majority of the world's refugees.

We must do all we can to help. For some children, a resettlement place in the UK would give them their first ever night's sleep on a mattress in a real bed, access to running water and simply, the hope of a better future.

EU member states resettle 5,500 refugees each year

The whole of the European Union offers 5,500 resettlement places each year, significantly less than the USA or Australia, according to the UN.

Read: Call to increase number of refugees in the UK

  • EU member states offer 5,500 places
  • Out of the EU, Sweden offers the most: 1,900 places
  • The UK offers up to 750 places per year
  • The United States offers 70,000 places
  • Australia offers 20,000 places
  • Canada offers 7,100 places

Call to increase number of refugees resettled in the UK

The Refugee Council is calling for the government to increase the number of places it provides to refugees fleeing persecution from across the world.

The UK currently accepts up to 750 refugees per year.

On the 10th anniversary of the UK resettling refugees under the UN's Gateway Protection Programme (GPP), the Refugee Council has urged the Government to do more to help vulnerable people.

Under the GPP system, the UK accepts up to 750 refugees from around the world every year for resettlement.

The Home Office said it has accepted more than 3,000 individuals under the GPP scheme since 2010.

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