The family who drowned after the sinking of a refugee boat in the English Channel have been pictured – as a search for their missing 15-month-old baby continues.
The bodies of Kurdish-Iranian Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, Anita, nine, and Armin, six, have been found and identified, the BBC reports.
Their 15-month-old son, Artin, is believed to be still missing. The family is believed to be from the city of Sardasht in western Iran, close to the border with Iraq.
Rasoul’s brother told the channel he had sold all of his belongings and paid more than £20,000 to smugglers in a bid to secure a better future for his family.
Pictures of the family have been shared publicly by a human rights organisation.
The tragedy is believed to be the single biggest loss of life during the current migrant crisis.
More than a dozen people from the boat have been taken to hospitals in Calais and Dunkirk, according to the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea.
Charities say there is “no excuse for failing to act now” and called on the UK Government to create a legal route for refugees. Refugees charity Care4Calais said it was “utterly devastated”.
Bertrand Ringot, the mayor of Gravelines, south-west of Dunkirk, described the deaths as “tragic”.
He added that as the end of the Brexit transition period approaches, he will call for more security resources in the area around the port.
Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, said: “News that a child has died at sea while trying to reach safety in the UK is the horror that we dreaded would come.
“Where is the decency and common humanity of the UK government?
“How can they allow our children to perish in this way? It would be easy to create a legal route for refugees who reach northern France to seek asylum in the UK; there is no excuse for failing to act now.”
Home secretary Priti Patel was strongly criticised earlier this year for suggesting sending in the Navy to stop refugees crossing the Channel, despite the fact the UK’s resettlement scheme has been closed since March – meaning there is no safe, legal route for refugees to reach the UK by other means.
Mariam Kemple Hardy, head of campaigns at Refugee Action, said the incident was “absolutely heartbreaking”.
She added: “Our thoughts are with the people caught up in this horrible tragedy, their families, and the rescuers.
“No one wants to see people make dangerous crossings but the government’s hostile rhetoric does nothing to help.
“It must stop trying to look tough and urgently create more safe and legal routes for people to seek sanctuary in the UK.”
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds tweeted: “This is an absolute tragedy. Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones and people who have been injured.
“It is a heartbreaking reminder of the human cost of this crisis.”
Yvette Cooper MP, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “This is truly awful news – and it is even more distressing that children should be involved in this tragedy.
“The thought of children ending up in the cold waves is terrible.
“These boats are incredibly dangerous. The criminal gangs who organise journeys in these precarious dinghies are profiting from putting lives at risk and from other people’s desperation.
“The Home Affairs Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into Channel crossings and into the work that is urgently needed to prevent more lives being lost.”