How one Syrian refugee wound up bringing his dying wife with him to Greece

 November 28, 2015                                                                                PRI'S THE WORLD

When the boat arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos, his wife was dead.

Some 100 refugees have died trying to make the treacherous crossing from Turkey to Lesbos, including more than 60 on one tragic night in October, when a trawler sank in high seas. The dangers are well known, but people keep coming. More than 725,000 refugees have arrived in Greece by sea this year alone — 425,000 of them at Lesbos.

An Iraqi man mourns his wife on the beach on Lesbos on Oct. 15, 2015.
Credit: Alison Terry-Evans
 After having spent two months on the island reporting on the refugee crisis, I can remember countless scenes of vulnerable people being rescued. Every single day, dozens of boats are launched and many of them flood, or the engines fail and they drift at sea.

Or they make it to shore, only to smash against the rocks. People end up floating in the water in fake life jackets holding tight to children and infants as body temperatures plummet. It’s a race against death as the Greek Coast Guard, Frontex, local fisherman and a network of NGOs and lifeguard groups and volunteers respond again and again, day and night.

If it weren’t for their heroic efforts, the death toll would be drastically higher than it is. But some situations are so terrible that they transcend even the possibility of rescue ...



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