Lebanese family drowns in migrant boat off Greece

A man carries a boys as they land with other migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on October 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF
A man carries a boys as they land with other migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on October 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF

At least three members of a Lebanese family drowned when their migrant boat traveling from Turkey to Greece sank, their relatives said Thursday, adding that four others remained missing.

Members of the Safwan family, who reside in the southern Beirut suburb of Ouzai, told reporters that their relatives had traveled to Turkey to take a migrant boat to Greece in the hopes of seeking asylum in Germany.

The Safwan family is originally from the Bekaa town of Gorgan, but has been displaced to the Ouzai area following the battle of Qusayr  in Syria near the Lebanese border .

The Syrian  Army and the Lebanese Shiite  Hezbollah, militants launched several battles against the rebels  in Qusayr  in May 2013 resulting in the displacement of thousands .

The  relatives said the husband managed to swim to shore and inform relatives in Lebanon that his wife’s body had been recovered.

The bodies of the mother’s oldest daughter and another member of the family have also been recovered, according to a family member who spoke to Al-Jadeed.

He also announced that another two were in hospital, while one was in custody in Turkey, and that another four are missing.

The news comes after the Greek Ministry of Shipping said Wednesday that a woman, a young girl and a baby had died after the boat, carrying migrants and refugees to the Greek island of Lesbos, sank.

The three victims’ bodies were found by divers under the capsized vessel, the ministry said.

The Greek coastguard had launched a search and rescue operation, aided by a helicopter of European border agency Frontex, after a Turkish patrol raised the alarm.

The ministry said 21 other migrants had been on board the boat, and that they had received reports of the three missing passengers.

The survivors were taken back to Turkey.

Members of the Safwan family in Lebanon appeared devastated and in shock over the incident. Television footage showed women sitting at a home in Ouzai wailing. They called on Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry to take action and cooperate with authorities abroad to uncover the fate of the missing.

“We still know nothing from yesterday,” a relative told MTV, as another added that no one in Lebanon has called to update the family.

The International Organization for Migration says more than 590,000 refugees and migrants have reached Europe’s shores since January, while more than 3,000 have died or gone missing.

More than 450,000 of the total have arrived in Greece.

Athens and the U.N. refugee agency have both called on the European Union to open up more legal channels for refugees desperately fleeing war and persecution, so that they do not have to risk their lives in order to reach safety. – With AFP



4 responses to “Lebanese family drowns in migrant boat off Greece”

  1. Dubium sapientiae initium Avatar
    Dubium sapientiae initium

    Do those Lebanese expects that the country fall into a new civil war, or those simply want to take the advantage of European social welfare – now when the EU borders are poorly guarded?

    I do not think the German announcement today that only the Syrians get asylum status in Germany will be appreciated by Lebanese migrants, or other nationalities.

    Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro, after three other Balkan countries (Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) classified as other “safe countries of origin” to asylum seekers from there quickly to send back asylum seekers to their homes.
    The reason: Those who come from safe countries of origin is replaced here no right to stay and can be returned very quickly.

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      Ahhh .. ‘ONLY SYRIANS’ … AGAIN? Same as ALL-AID Agencies in Lebanon …
      The Lebanese I know in Lebanon are considered ‘Safe’ there … Right?? Why??
      They are refugees in their own country … WITHOUT ANY donated food or water or clothing or soap OR Kotex … BUT I told them that leaving – especially by boat – was not the best idea … better to die where they were, and let the damn apartment owner with monthly rents in American Dollars figure what to do with the bodies, unless they are forced to hit the streets before that. I consider … It will be warm enough on the streets until November sometime … although there’s ‘The Men’ to worry about. Last winter they only reported ‘one’ dying from hypothermia in Tripoli … must have been a Syrian … there’s nothing said about Lebanese.
      Of course, if bombing begins (or shooting) and they feel they must run, a boat to Cyprus would be best … it’s only 40 miles.
      You think it’s only ‘garbage problems’ that have people on the streets???

      1. 5thDrawer Avatar

        You can USUALLY tell how ‘Confident’ Lebanese feel about being ‘Non-Refugees’ in their own Country, by watching the Travel Advertising … WHICH usually invites ‘Leb-Expats’ to ski in the Lebanese mountains … but NOW … you should think about it …

      2. Dubium sapientiae initium Avatar
        Dubium sapientiae initium

        Ask “Mama Merkel” why only Syrians will be permitted to stay.
        The new harder refugee conditions was agreed today in the Bundestag.

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