At least 27 migrants have drowned after their dinghy sank, as the UK and France trade blame over the disaster.
Among those drowned were five women and a young girl, according to French interior minister Gerald Darmanin.
He said that two migrants were fighting for their lives, while another person appeared to still be missing.
The British Red Cross and Refugee Council joined calls for the creation of safe routes for those seeking asylum. It further warned that “cruel and ineffective” tactics will not prevent lives from being put at risk.
Admitting that efforts to stem the flow of small boats “haven’t been enough”, the British PM Boris Johnson sent a message to Paris: “I say to our partners across the Channel, now is the time for us all to step up, to work together, to do everything we can to break these gangs who are literally getting away with murder.”
For his part, French Prime Minister Jean Castex called the boat sinking a “tragedy”.
“My thoughts are with the many missing and injured. Victims of criminal smugglers who exploit their distress and misery,” he wrote in a tweet.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) called the incident the largest single loss of life in the Channel since it started collecting data in 2014.