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France

Eritrean migrant crushed by truck's cargo near Calais

media A migrant walks next to a lorry parking lot, in the French northern city of Calais. Philippe Huguen/AFP

An Eritrean migrant was crushed to death in northern France on Friday after the truck in which he had stowed away crashed near Calais port.

The 31-year-old was the fourth migrant to die this year in the area around the port of Calais, a launchpad for attempts by migrants to smuggle across the Channel to England.

He was buried under several tonnes of paper rolls bound for a British customer after the driver lost control of the truck and it overturned, regional security officials said.

Last week, an Afghan migrant died after being run over on the road leading to the port.

The number of fatalities has however fallen dramatically since 2016 when 14 migrants died while trying to reach Britain -- a popular destination for Afghans and east Africans particularly.

Migrant numbers in Calais have dwindled to a trickle after the authorities late last year bulldozed a settlement on the outskirts of the port where thousands of people had been sheltering and bussed them to shelters around the country.

Since then the police has relentlessly pursued young Africans and Asians who try to set up camp in the area, drawing sharp criticism from rights groups.

President Emmanuel Macron has adopted a two-pronged approach to migrants, cracking down on those labelled economic migrants because they are fleeing poverty rather than danger while promising to open up new avenues for refugees to travel to France legally.

In July he promised to find temporary shelters for all those on the streets by the end of 2017 - a goal he looks nearly certain to miss, with many still sleeping rough around the country.

- with AFP

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