Migrants in Calais tell of desperation as thousands attempt to breach Channel Tunnel


Migrants gathered in Calais have described their desperation to reach Britain, as more police are dispatched to the port to control crowds.

Nine people have been killed attempting to cross the Channel in the last month, according to Eurotunnel.

Some 2,000 attempts were made to get to the tunnel on Monday and 1,500 more on Tuesday night and the early hours of Wednesday morning, the operator said.

It is thought that up to 148 people made it to the UK after Monday’s incursion.

Groups from Africa, Asia and Arab countries sheltered under trees as they prepared to make fresh attempts to storm the Channel Tunnel.

They started fires to keep themselves warm as the overnight temperature in northern France dropped.

Migrant Crisis

Among the migrants was Mohammad Al-Mohammad, 26, from Aleppo, Syria, who said he graduated in English literature from the city’s university before the civil war left it in ruins.

Speaking good English, he said that he wanted to carry on studying for a masters degree in the UK, where he claimed his brother was living.

He said he had walked and hitchhiked from a refugee camp in Turkey, through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Austria and Italy before arriving in France three months ago.

He said: ”I have tried maybe nine or 10 times to get to the tunnel but I have failed.

”I have come here for many reasons. The Syrian regime wanted me for military service.

”I graduated from the University of Aleppo after three years and Isis (Islamic State) wanted me to teach the kids (to be) jihadists and I refused.

”When I graduated there was no work because of the war and in the area where I live there is no electricity, no internet, there is nothing because the war has destroyed everything.

”I am seeking peace in the United Kingdom and my brother is there. I ask the United Kingdom authorities to help me to go to him.”

Raihan Jan, 24, a clerk from eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, said that he had travelled first to Iran, then on to Turkey, Greece and Italy before arriving in Calais four days ago.

He told reporters: “We heard that one guy died last night and we know it’s very dangerous, but there is not another way to go the UK.

“This is the last chance that we have. We think that the economy is a little bit better in the UK so we will get a chance to have documents and some work.

“Life in our villages is very difficult, we can’t live there. I lost an uncle and we lost all our property and home in the war, everything was destroyed.“

I heard that it is also difficult there in the UK but we will try. We are going to try again tonight because last night there were no trains.”

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