A record number of people crossed the Channel to UK in small boats in 2022 – arrivals soar by 60% in a year – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

A record number of people crossed the Channel to UK in small boats in 2022 – arrivals soar by 60% in a year

A record 45,728 people crossed the English Channel to Britain on small boats in 2022, more than 60% up on the previous year as migrants continue to risk their lives on the perilous journey.

The perils of the deep waters separating France and Britain have been painfully exposed over the past 12 months, when four people lost their lives after their boat capsized in freezing waters in December.

It was a year in which the government continued to engage in tough measures to stem the flow of boats and crack down on human traffickers, including the pursuit of its controversial plan to deport Rwanda.

But arrivals data – collected and analysed by Sky News – paints a different picture.

The data, based on preliminary data released daily and weekly by the government, show a sharp increase in the number of arrivals over the past year, a continuation of a year-long trend that shows no signs of stopping.

At least 45,728 people are thought to have crossed the Channel to Britain on small boats in 2022, an increase of more than 17,000 from the 28,526 who arrived in 2021.

Figures released by the government on New Year’s Day were very similar, with the final figure confirmed at 45,756.

Last year 1,104 boats made it to the UK, a small increase from the 1,034 that made the trip in 2021.

This once again sheds light on one of the most worrying trends: smugglers are loading more and more people onto ever larger rubber dinghies, with sometimes fatal consequences.

In 2020 there were an average of 13 people on board each dinghy, Sky News analyzes reveal, which will rise to 28 the following year.

Last year that number rose again to 41 and in the second half of the year it rose to a whopping 45 people per boat.

At least one person made the life-threatening journey to the UK on almost 44% of the days, with arrivals on 159 different days.

A decline in the use of ferries by people trying to get to the UK – exacerbated by the pandemic – has seen an increase in the number of people using dinghies in recent years.

Arrivals have increased by more than 15,000% since 2018, when just 299 people made the crossing by boat.

However, the overall number of asylum applications has increased slightly in recent years, suggesting that the method of reaching the UK has changed more than the number of people.

Despite the rising numbers, small boat arrivals to the UK continue to far outnumber people arriving in Europe.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at least 154,290 people crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe by land and sea in 2022.

At least 1,939 people are believed to have died or gone missing, according to the same data.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director, said: “Just like last year, 2022 is coming to a close after yet more deeply tragic and largely avoidable deaths in the Channel. Shamefully, even this latest disaster hasn’t shaken the Government out of its cruel and punitive asylum policies, including the scapegoating of people arriving by small boats,” reports Sky.

A government spokesperson said: “The global migration crisis is causing an unprecedented strain on our asylum system. Nobody should put their lives at risk by taking dangerous and illegal journeys,” reports Sky.

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