July 31, 2015 4:52 AM EDT

British Prime Minister David Cameron is to chair an emergency meeting of his government’s Cobra security committee Friday to discuss how to address the migrant situation in the northern French port of Calais.

The meeting comes the morning after migrants made more than 1,000 attempts to breach fences and enter the Channel Tunnel Thursday night, reports Agence France-Presse.

Some 3,000 asylum seekers mainly from Africa and the Middle East are living in a makeshift camp near the port in Calais. Every night, many who have fled war, poverty and persecution risk serious injury as they attempt to enter the tunnel in search of a better life in the U.K.

France has sent in police reinforcements to guard the entrance of the tunnel and stop migrants climbing over the fences and blocking the roads.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense could be called in to make land available for the thousands of backlogged trucks waiting on the U.K. side of the tunnel, on the M20 highway in the county of Kent, reports the BBC.

Meanwhile, Cameron has come under fire from opposition leaders and the Refugee Council for saying there was a “swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean.”

“He should remember he’s talking about people and not insects,” acting Labour leader Harriet Harman told the BBC.

The U.N. Representative for Internal Migration said there had been a “xenophobic response” from British politicians to the crisis.

Kent social services are struggling to cope with the number of child asylum seekers; numbers have doubled over the past three months.

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Write to Helen Regan at helen.regan@timeasia.com.

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