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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Kurdistan shaken by death of 70 Kurdish migrants in the Aegean Sea

By Rudaw 23/1/2016
Relatives of those drowned in the Aegean Sea on Friday gathered in front of the Turkish Consulate in Erbil on Saturday asking the Turkish government to allow them entry into the morgue in Izmir. Photo by Farzin Hassan/Rudaw
Relatives of those drowned in the Aegean Sea on Friday gathered in front of the Turkish Consulate in Erbil on Saturday asking the Turkish government to allow them entry into the morgue in Izmir. Photo by Farzin Hassan/Rudaw

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Nearly 70 Kurdish migrants drowned when their boat capsized in the Aegean Sea on Friday. The bodies of some of the dead are still missing, an immigration official said.

Rasan Ramzi, Rudaw correspondent in the Turkish city of Izmir spoke with some of the survivors of the boat wreck that cost the lives of so many people, many of them young children.

One survivor said that he lost his wife and one daughter in the incident shortly after they set off towards Greece from Turkey at dawn.

“We sailed at 5:02 am but shortly afterwards the operator of the boat lost his way and soon we ran out of fuel,” he said, standing in front of the Izmir morgue. “Our boat was quickly filled with water and we tried hard to empty out the water but we couldn’t do anything against the big waves.”

Of a family of six only this man and three others survived.

“I think only 24 of us survived, but because we have not been given back the bodies yet we don’t know who died and who survived,” he added.

The victims of Friday’s tragedy at sea were from the Kurdistan Region, most of them from the town of Rania.

“We were on the boat for three hours but the operators didn’t know where they were going and lost the way even though they were using the GPS system,” he said.

Amanj Abdullah, an Iraqi immigration official in Erbil said that he believed a total of 85 people were on the boat and only 15 survived the incident.

Abdullah added that so far 23 of the victims have been identified all of whom hailed from the Sulaimani province.

Relatives of some of the drowned migrants flew to Izmir from the Kurdistan Region where they asked the Kurdish government for assistance to repatriate the bodies of their loved ones.

Authorities of the Izmir morgue told Rudaw that the morgue keeps the bodies at a cost and if the families do not take away the bodies or pay the cost the local municipality may bury the victims.

Eight members of a family of 10 drowned on the same boat. Only one woman and a child survived.

Speaker of the Kurdish Parliament Yousif Muhammad said Friday’s tragedy shook the entire nation.

“Once again we are shaken by the news of the death of a number of our citizens in the Aegean Sea,” he said in a statement. “This has happened numerous times that people hand themselves over to an unknown fate because of injustice, financial and other accumulated crisis.”

Some relatives and families of the victims gathered outside the Turkish consulate in Erbil on Saturday, asking for permission to enter the morgue in Izmir to identify their loved ones.

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Kurdis site? | 23/1/2016
Turkey have killed hundreds and hudrets of kurds in the latest months, where is the news?
Hoshyar zaxoy | 23/1/2016
@Kurdis site, our thoughts and hearts are after every innocent kurd murdered in cold blood by the racist turks or isis. The tragedy of refugees is equally very painful as it is mainly their own fault as well as fault of the system. I am particularly sad that innocent children are victimised in such horrific way. Let us all pray for all victims of tragedies happening to kurds these days whether it is bakur(the motherland) or basur, rojava or rojhalat.
Dryasiulia | 24/1/2016
If they are Erbil's children then how did they get on that boat and why? If Erbil is letting it's families starve to death where is the news about that? Why is Rudaw silent about that? Could it be greed for EU streets paved in gold that is killing the children at sea? Those streets are becoming very unwelcome for immigrants lately.
kurd | 24/1/2016
kurdis site@ you are either blinbk or illiterate. there has been news everyday. PKK thugs and criminal are finished. they are taking their last breathe
Peter | 24/1/2016
what must be made clear is the wests streets arent paved with gold,, they are made on the sweat and backs of our workers,, we are not all rich and we dont get this lifestyle for free,, we pay and pay at every opportun ity governments have to tax us,, we work from 17 or 18 years old to 65 , 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week , some shifts may vary of corse.. i have seen many a immigrant get to canada and not believe how hard we have to work to keep up,, more than a few have turned back and gone home when they fully realize this,, the west aint cheap or as easy as some think , and when we die if things arent in order the state will take your money and the cities/towns your home away from your remaining family,,, they make sure we leave this world as we came in ,, with nothing unless you pay for the making of a proper will,, they idea/dream of a mans home and land is his and his families forever in the new world , has been dashed unless you have full and proper documentation on your death and dont owe too much,, which is hard enough to achive in a world based on credit,, so if you come be prepared for these realities my friends
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