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Image: picture-alliance/empics/J. Walther

French security causes traffic chaos in Britain

July 24, 2016

British border guards have been deployed to help French police deal with a huge buildup of motorists attempting to cross the English Channel. Heightened security checks were implemented following the attack in Nice.

https://p.dw.com/p/1JV2X

Holidaymakers seeking to make the crossing from Britain to France on Sunday were facing delays of several hours as gridlock along the route continued for a second day.

The chaos comes at the peak of Britain's summer holidays - a time when thousands of families opt to travel by car to continental Europe.

French officials have expanded security measures at the border in the wake of the terror attack in Nice last week in which a Tunisian man used a truck to mow down 84 people.

The checks have led to huge lines of trucks and cars on roads leading to the English port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel. The problems began on Friday night, and police have warned they could continue into next week.

Frustration on the road

Some motorists complained of waiting up to 15 hours in line, spending the night in their cars without food or water.

Port of Dover authorities also raised concerns that the French border control stations were severely understaffed overnight, compounding the gridlock.

Many travelers took to Twitter to vent their frustration.

Police in the county of Kent, where Dover is located, warned motorists to stock up on food, water and other supplies before setting out on their journey.

A police helicopter dropped water bottles to stranded drivers, while volunteers from a local charity were handing out granola bars and water.

Volunteer Ravi Singh said motorists were "very, very frustrated and pulling their hair out" because of the tie-ups and the lack of food, water and toilet facilities.

"We met a lot of young families with children, mostly people going on holidays, some heading back home to France," he said. "People didn't know what was going on. They could see the queues in front."

France imposed a state of emergency following the "Islamic State" terror attacks in Paris last November. Following the Bastille Day attack in Nice French lawmakers voted to extend the measures by another six months.

nm/rc (AP, AFP)

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