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Rudaw

Kurdistan

34 drown after boat capsizes in Aegean, many victims are Kurds

By Rudaw 11/10/2018
The bodies of 14 people have been recovered by Turkish authorities. File photo: Anadolu Agency
The bodies of 14 people have been recovered by Turkish authorities. File photo: Anadolu Agency
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A boat carrying 35 migrants, many of them Kurds, trying to make it to Europe capsized in the Aegean Sea, killing all but one woman on board. 

At least 19 of the victims are believed to be Kurds from Duhok and Zakho. Afghanis are also reportedly among the dead. 

Fourteen bodies have been retrieved from the waters off the coast of Turkey.

Only one woman from Zakho survived. She has been identified as Mahabad Ismael.

She survived because she knew how to swim, according to Kurda Yashar, the representative of Iraq’s refugee office in Turkey. Her five children and husband drowned. 

According to Ismael's account, the boat ran out of fuel during the journey.

Most of the Kurdish dead are from two families. 

According to family members, one of the victims was a Peshmerga who had fought ISIS. His eldest son has severe diabetes and the family had sought medical attention in Iran before resorting to the dangerous trip to Europe.

"It is deeply painful to send all these bodies back all the time," Yashar told Rudaw TV, asking what it will take for families to stop trying the dangerous voyage. 

Shaswar Abdulwahid, head of the New Generation, said the deaths should send "a message to those who deny the frustration and growing grievances among the public in Kurdistan, especially in Duhok where people are deprived from [sic] the wealth of their city." 

Zeravan Gouli traveled from Diyabakir to Izmir looking for his relatives who may have been on the boat. He said he has not been able to identify the smugglers who had arranged passage for his family members and has asked for help from the authorities. 

Turkish authorities were alerted to the disaster when the one survivor approached the gendarmes wearing wet clothes and a life jacket. The coast guard dispatched two boats, a helicopter, and one aircraft to search, Anadolu Agency reported.

Under a deal with the European Union, Turkey has restricted access to Europe from its borders, but hundreds still risk the dangerous voyage across the Aegean. 

Many Kurds are among those who have drowned on the route. Smugglers are often blamed for providing small boats without safety equipment. 

Updated at 11:14 pm

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Alaa | 11/10/2018
Have they found the body of the husband and kids of the woman who survived?
Alaa Maho | 11/10/2018
Have the bodies of the husband and children of the woman been found?
thurgood bardico | 11/10/2018
What a shame! Maybe someday Civilization will live up to its name.
Sad kurd in USA | 11/10/2018
WOW, this tragedy is heart breaking. May they all rest in peace and may GOD help the survivor lady who lost 5 kids and her husband. If this people had a good life in Kurdistan they would have never left and put thire life in danger. The KRG needs to do the best that they can to improve the quality of living providing electricity and clean water So the people of Kurdistan don't have to die in the ocean. quit building high rises.
Why | 11/10/2018
Are Zahi and Duhok war zones? Were they starving? Why would you do such a thing?
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