Some 3,500 migrants attempted to enter the UK this week via the 31 mile long Channel Tunnel connecting Calais, France with Folkstone, England. The surge brings the total for the year to 35,000. Also known as the “Chunnel,” migrants attempting to cross via the tunnel have long used Calais as a gathering place, reportedly cutting fencing in the area in repeated attempts to cross. The journey can be dangerous and just recently a 23 year-old woman from Eritrea was killed in a car impact while crossing, the eighth person to die since June 1st. While short term fixes to the problem are being made there is currently no long term strategy to prevent the conditions that create these migrants.
The addition of new barriers and lighting is being implemented to prevent injuries and deaths, with the UK government contributing $26.5 million for increased security of the Eurotunnel. With improved lighting it is hoped that truck drivers will be able to spot migrants who attempt to sneak on board during the night.
British Home Secretary Theresa May stated that both France and Great Britain must combine their efforts, “to return migrants, particularly to West Africa, to ensure that people see that making this journey does not lead to them coming to Europe and being able to settle in Europe."
British Prime Minister David Cameron tried Wednesday to calm the frustrations of travelers on their summer holiday that are having to deal with frequent traffic disruptions.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve illustrated that prevention is the only real solution to the problem, "If we want to solve this problem in Calais, if we want to prevent the networks of smugglers from driving vulnerable men, women and kids to Calais, we need to work on this problem in its origin."
Mainland Europe has seen a flood of migrants this year traveling by boat yet the issue is now beginning to reach as far the United Kingdom, increasing pressure on Europe as a group to come up with a long term solution to the problem.