The number of people making the perilous journey across the Channel has been rising. Even as politicians promise to “stop the boats”, the UK coastguard has been left scrambling to respond to distress calls.

Then, in November 2021, came an unimaginable tragedy: at least 27 people drowned after a dinghy overturned while trying to cross the Channel. Now an investigation by the Observer and Liberty Investigates has found hundreds of other people may have been left adrift in the month of the disaster.

Amjad (not his real name) recounts his own terrifying journey and how he had to make multiple calls to UK and French authorities even while the dinghy he was in filled with water. Eleanor Rose tells Nosheen Iqbal why, despite being one of the most surveilled crossings in the world, the Channel is so dangerous for refugees. And Aaron Walawalkar explains what lessons need to be learned.

Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

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