Government urged to sort migrant 'crisis' following teenager's death

Video report by ITV News Meridian's John Ryall


A 16-year-old migrant who drowned in the English Channel has been named as Abdulfatah Hamdallah.

He and another migrant, who survived, had been rowing their makeshift boat towards Dover using spades as oars in a desperate attempt to reach England.

The Sudanese migrant who disappeared at sea was found dead on a beach near Calais.

Police at Sangatte near Calais where the body of the Sudanese teenager was found.

It is the first known death of a migrant in the channel this year, and Abdulfatah's death has heightened calls for the Government to handle what many have called a crisis, and a tragedy.

The Bishop of Dover, The Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, is calling on the British government to collaborate with other governments to prevent deaths like this.

They are our children that are dying out there. They are our brothers and sisters irrespective of colour, culture or creed. There are things that, as a world of people, we need to be doing.

The Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover

Throughout the summer, senior Conservatives have attacked the French for failing to stop migrant boats setting out, and for allowing French naval vessels to escort many of the boats into British waters.

On Thursday (20 August) leading French republican and socialist politicians said it was the British government that needed to change its attitude and its policies.

Olivier Caremelle MEP, Nord Pas-de-Calais, Socialist Party says: "Perhaps the problem is that we have improved the situation for settled refugees who are now legal residents, but we have purposely made it even more difficult for those without official documents. It is important for both French and British politicians to change their stance. The British public aren't uniquely against migration, so it is up to them to put pressure on their government."

Migrant welfare groups say yesterday's tragedy could be the first of many unless child migrants are either granted safe passage to Britain, or allowed to lodge asylum claims from France.

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought into Dover by Border Force officers Credit: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

On Thursday evening, senior Home Office officials are visiting counterparts in Calais and Paris, reinstating a determination to 'put a stop' to the crossings.

The cross-channel 'war of words' looks set to continue through the summer.