The Latest: UK, France plan to increase security in Calais

AP News
Posted: Aug 30, 2016 11:22 AM
The Latest: UK, France plan to increase security in Calais

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

France and Britain are looking to further increase security in Calais to try to keep migrants from illegally crossing into the U.K.

More than 1,000 French police officers already patrol highways and Eurotunnel and port entrances, all enclosed in high barbed-wire fences.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and British counterpart Amber Rudd met in Paris and said in a joint statement that both countries plan to further secure the port and tunnels in coming months.

The statement says that the goal is to "diminish the migratory pressure" in Calais and preserve the "vital economic link." The migrant population in the makeshift Calais camp there soared to record numbers this month — more than 9,000 according to aid groups, nearly 7,000 according to French authorities.


4:50 p.m.

Greece has seen a sudden spike in refugees and other migrants landing on its eastern islands over the past 24 hours, when almost as many people arrived as during the previous week.

Government figures showed that 462 people reached the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Kos and Rhodes in smugglers' boats between Monday and Tuesday morning. Total arrivals for the previous week were 499.

The influx of migrants from Turkey hit a record of 857,000 last year.

But a European Union deal with Turkey to stem the flow came into effect in March, and since then monthly arrivals in Greece have been in the low thousands. The monthly incoming refugee figure for August is the highest in four months, however.

About 59,000 people are trapped in Greece following the border closures of nations further north.


1:25 p.m.

A leading French humanitarian organization says the number of minors alone in a makeshift camp in Calais has increased by 151 percent to 861 — with the youngest 10 years old.

France Terre d'Asile says it spent three days last week counting kids alone in the camp in northern France and the figure had soared since a May count of 343.

It concurred with other aid groups which put the overall camp population at a record of around 9,000.

The Calais region prefecture says that since March, 55 children have been able to join families in Britain — the dream of most Calais migrants.

The figures were released as British Home Secretary Amber Rudd visits her French counterpart, with Calais likely on the agenda.


1:15 p.m.

Serbia's defense ministry says three people have been detained for attempting to smuggle 64 migrants from Afghanistan, including a pregnant woman and a baby.

The ministry said Tuesday that a joint police and army patrol near the border with Bulgaria caught the smugglers late Monday as they were transferring the migrants.

It says a group of 34 migrants were packed in a van, while another 30 migrants were about to board two cars. They included mostly men, four women, children and a baby.

Many refugees and migrants fleeing war and poverty have been turning to people smugglers to guide them through the Balkans and on toward the European Union after countries closed their borders in March.

More than 1 million migrants entered Europe in 2015.