‘They are like our family’: Migrants at Dunkirk camp trying to get to UK rocked by news of Channel deaths


“They are like our family” Arsalan tells me, as the name of the first victim of the Channel crossing reaches the camp at Dunkirk.

Arsalan, who is from Iran, never met any of those who died on Wednesday but says there is “no difference” between him and them.

He says all anyone at the camp wants is a “simple life”.

Arsalan, who is from Iran, never met any of those who died on Wednesday but says there is ‘no difference’ between him and them

Migrants sit around a fire

The tragedy has changed Arsalan’s mind about travelling on a small boat, saying he won’t “play with his life” but is still determined to find another way to get to the UK.

He has been at this makeshift camp for a week after “escaping a life full of dangers” in Iran.

Asked why he didn’t stay in another European country, he said: “There is humanity” in the UK, adding, “people are protected”.

Not far away we meet Pavel, who’s with his three younger siblings aged four, 10 and 12.

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Pavel says: “Life is very hard, we can’t sleep.”

He says he wants to go to England where his uncle lives a “good life”.

People line up to get food from charity workers

Pavel talks to Sky News

“It’s raining and it is very cold. We definitely want to go to England because we don’t have anywhere to live,” he added.

Pavel also says he does not have a plan.

His mother Shadan is emotional when we ask about the prospect of taking her family in a small boat.

She says: “It’s England that is my love. For seven years nobody has looked after us but now we are going to England, God willing”.

Shadan shows me inside the tent where her family of eight sleep, telling me she hugs her children at night to keep them warm.

The family arrived at Dunkirk last night and the floor of their tent is already soaking wet.

Despite Wednesday’s tragedy Pavel says the family could cross the Channel as soon as next week.

He says: “l am big enough that l can take it but when the children say they are cold what can l do”.