Undeterred by French riot police, a surveillance helicopter, or a ninth death this summer, migrants continue their attempts to stow away on Channel Tunnel trains heading to England from Calais. The desperate people pressing north through Europe are mostly refugees fleeing war, dictatorship and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. "Calais is a mirror of conflicts tearing up regions of the world," French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

Calais migrants
A migrant climbs over a security fence at the Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles near CalaisPhilippe Huguen/AFP
Calais migrants
Philippe Huguen/AFP
Calais migrants
Philippe Huguen/AFP

Those caught on the French side are generally immediately freed to return to local makeshift camps and try again. Those caught on the in British side may be detained while their applications for asylum are considered. But many stay hidden aboard trucks as they roll off the trains until they stop for fuel, then hop off and vanish.

It is not clear how many reach Britain, although at least a few succeeded in stowing aboard trains to make the 35-minute trip. British Home Secretary Theresa May said "a number" of migrants made it through. Emmanuel Agrius, the deputy mayor of Calais, said: "Smugglers sell migrants the notion that Britain is the only El Dorado for a better life."

Calais migrants
A policeman tries to stop migrants from reaching the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles near CalaisPhilippe Huguen/AFP
Calais migrants
Migrants trying to reach the Channel Tunnel laugh as they run past policemen in Coquelles near CalaisPhilippe Huguen/AFP
Calais migrants
Migrants scatter as French gendarmes try to apprehend them on the Eurotunnel site in Coquelles near CalaisPhilippe Huguen/AFP
Calais migrants
French police guard the Eurotunnel site as migrants gather near the boarding docks in Coquelles near CalaisPhilippe Huguen/AFP
Calais migrants
French gendarmes try to separate migrants near the boarding docks in Coquelles near CalaisPhilippe Huguen/AFP

Freight and passenger traffic through the rail tunnel has been severely disrupted as migrants tried to board trucks and trains travelling from France to Britain. The delays caused mayhem for truckers on both sides of the Channel. Cargo trucks were backed up overnight in Calais for several kilometres. British police, meanwhile, turned parts of a highway near the UK end of the tunnel into a giant parking lot. Passenger service was also delayed.

Calais migrants
Lorries park on the M20 motorway near Ashford in Kent as migrant activity in Calais causes further delaysPeter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Calais migrants
Migrants speak with a truck driver as they walk along the route leading to the Channel Tunnel in CoquellesPhilippe Huguen/AFP

The crisis has turned into a blame game with Eurotunnel, the French government and British authorities all saying the others are not doing enough. France's government called on Eurotunnel to step up its protection. The company defended its efforts, saying it had blocked more than 37,000 attempts since January. Eurotunnel called for help from both the French and British governments to protect the site and its 23km perimeter.

"It's become a phenomenon which is beyond our means," Eurotunnel company spokesman John Keefe said. "We're just a small transport company operating in a little corner of Europe."

France has deployed 120 more police officers to the site while Britain has agreed to provide an extra £7m ($11m) of funding for measures to improve security at Calais, including erecting a 3m fence to protect the terminal.

Calais migrants
Migrants from Sudan build a hut at a makeshift camp dubbed the New JunglePhilippe Huguen/AFP
Calais migrants
Migrants salvage a stained mattress at the New Jungle campPhilippe Huguen/AFP
Calais migrants
A man prays in a makeshift church constructed at the New Jungle migrants' campPhilippe Huguen/AFP

In Calais, an Eritrean man returning from a night of trying to cross the Channel told AP he planned further attempts to reach England. "[We] come here and tomorrow, inshallah, try again."