December 28, 2018 / 5:51 PM / 23 days ago

UK says rising migrant Channel crossings are a 'major incident'

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid arrives in Downing Street, London, Britain, December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - British interior minister Sajid Javid has said the fast-growing number of would-be immigrants crossing the English Channel from France in dinghies is a “major incident.”

Nearly 70 people have been intercepted in the past three days as they try to reach England by crossing one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

Javid is also seeking an urgent call with his French counterpart over the weekend, his ministry said.

“He has insisted the Home Office treat the situation as a major incident and has ... asked for daily updates,” it said in a statement.

It added that Javid wants to ensure everything possible is being done to deter migrants from attempting the dangerous crossing, “amid concern that it is only a matter of time before people lose their lives.”

The Member of Parliament for Dover on England’s southeast coast, Charlie Elphicke, has called for more government funding to deal with the arrivals and the Home Office said Javid has asked border officials to look at options for bringing in extra patrol ships.

Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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