Published: 11:00, 19 August 2020
| Updated: 12:37, 21 August 2020
A 16-year-old boy has been found washed up on a French beach after trying to cross the Channel to the UK.
The French authorities found the drowned boy and announced the death with "immense sadness."
The body was discovered on the beach of Sangatte, the stretch of coast looking out towards Dover.
French politician Marlène Schiappa took to Twitter to announce the news this morning.
The tweet reads: "16-year-old Sudanese migrant who disappeared at sea last night was found dead on the beach of Sangatte this morning.
"This unbearable drama mobilizes us still + with @GDarmanin against smugglers who take advantage of the plight of human beings!"
Bridget Chapman from Kent Refugee Action Network, an independent charity supporting asylum seekers travelling to the UK said: “We are absolutely devastated by it.
Watch: Councillors react to the death of teenage boy crossing the Channel
"It could be any one of the young people that we work with, and it’s such a waste of a life, such a waste of promise."
Bridget also said the death could have been avoided.
She said: "We and a number of other migrant organisations have been calling for months for safe and legal route.
"France takes four times as many asylum applications as we do, and Germany takes ten times as many.
"The UK needs to step up and do its bit - they need to create safe and legal routes.
"Had that happened, this boy would still be alive, I’m sure of that.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel described the news as "an upsetting and tragic loss of a young life.
"This horrendous incident serves as a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people."
But one charity director has spoken out against the Home Secretary, claiming the young boy's death is her responsibility.
Bella Sankey, head of Detention Action, said: "Your failure to create a safe and legal route for this young person has directly led to their death.
"If you had any shame or any conscience, you would consider your position."
Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke took to Twitter to respond to the news, writing: "I have been warning for months about the risk of further loss of life from dangerous journeys across the English Channel.
"This latest death in the Channel is both shocking and sad. It underlines that it is essential to bring an urgent end to these perilous small boat crossings."
It follows dozens of people seeking asylum being picked this morning as they attempted to cross the Channel.
More than 50 people were taken to the Port of Dover aboard a lifeboat and Border Force vessel.
It is understood that a number of those rescued are children.
More than 4,000 asylum seekers attempted to cross the Channel to the UK in 2020.
Speaking to KentOnline, charity Care4Calais believes deteriorating conditions in the French port city due to coronavirus have contributed to the higher number of people attempting to make the dangerous crossing.
The UK government has entered talks to find a way of making the crossing "unviable," including appointing a clandestine channel threat commander.
Dan O’Mahoney travelled to Paris last week to seek stronger enforcement measures as Border Force continues to deal with crossings along the south coast of Kent.
In a statement last week, he said: "We continue to work with France to make the small boats route unviable, and I’m pleased to see that the French have prevented a significant number of people crossing the Channel today and yesterday."
Meanwhile, the safety of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children has been thrown into question as Kent County Council announces it can no longer no longer safely accommodate unaccompanied asylum-seeking children arriving on it's shores.
Under UK law, the local authority has a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the area who are in need, including children seeking asylum who are unaccompanied by an adult.
This means the children found on the shores of Kent after making the journey across the Channel are the responsibility of Kent County Council.
But the increase of crossings this year has meant KCC has finally reached its limit, something it has warned government of for the last half-decade.
Any new arrivals will now be looked after by Border Force until local authority care is organised.
Responding to the news of the Sudanese boy's death, British Red Cross chief executive, Mike Adamson, said: "The loss of this young life is a tragedy, and we're devastated to hear this news.
"It should not be the case that people feel they have no choice but to make such dangerous journeys in their search for protection.
"There are no easy answers but, at a time when more than one percent of the world’s population has been displaced, we need countries to work together to provide the best humanitarian outcome that prevent such tragedies."