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Eurotunnel seeks aid in stopping flow of migrants

Migrants have caused havoc in attempting to illegally travel from France to England.

By Ed Adamczyk
Eurotunnel seeks aid in stopping flow of migrants
The Eurostar high-speed bullet train, which connects Paris Gare du Nord to London St. Pancras station, on March 11, 2015. Photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock

PARIS, July 22 (UPI) -- Eurotunnel, operator of the underwater tunnel between France and England, said Wednesday it seeks 14.4 million Euros ($15.7 million) to defray extra security costs involved in dealing with a migrant crisis.

About 3,000 migrants, largely from North Africa and the Middle East who are displaced by war, poverty and political conflict, are camped at the port of Calais, France, and many make daily attempts to illegally board trains and trucks using the tunnel to arrive in England.

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Two migrants have died in the past several weeks, attempting to board trains. The British government has already agreed to 4.7 million Euros ($5.12 million) in reimbursements for increased security, but Eurotunnel has asked the Intergovernmental Commission, which operates on behalf of the two countries, for an additional 9.7 million Euros ($10.57 million) to recover money thus far spent on the problem.

Eurotunnel warned that "if this situation continues, or even intensifies, during the second half of the year without the French and British authorities taking the necessary measures incumbent upon them, it could affect the group's traffic expenditure for the 2015 financial year."

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The situation worsened this week as migrants attempted to take advantage of a protest by passenger ship workers, who staged a tire-burning action at the Calais terminal over labor issues.

"The migrants have cost us a huge amount because of the damage they do. They cut through fences, they're causing services to be suspended, they're causing damage to trucks, they're causing us to have to invest in new security equipment: new fences, new cameras, new staff," commented John Keefe, Eurotunnel's public affairs director.

The plea for assistance came as Eurotunnel announced growing revenue in the first six months of 2015.

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