The Channel Disaster: Anguish of a father over the loss of his family after tragedy

Caption for the image

Rizgar and Hesty, his youngest daughter with Kajal (wife), Hadia, his oldest daughter Hadia

Rizgar Hussein had last spoken to Hadia late Tuesday night in Iraq.

He called her from France, to tell him that she was going to be boarding a boat together with her sister, brother and mother. Hadia was delighted at the chance to finally reach the UK.

Rizgar never heard anything from his family.

He saw the following day that 27 had been killed while trying to cross into Britain.

“I am waiting for news from any one… Rizgar told the BBC that she just wants to find out if anyone is alive or deceased.

One of the many Iraqi Kurds who are trying to discover the fates of their family members that have been unreachable since the tragedy on Tuesday in the English Channel.

Maryam Nuri Mohamed Amin is the sole confirmed victim. She’s a Kurdish-speaking woman aged 24 from Northern Iraq.

Rizgar left a Kurdish community in northern Iraq with his wife Kajal Hussein (45), and their two children Hadia (22) and Mobin (16) respectively.

Rizgar stated that he did not want his family leaving for Europe and that he was prepared to lose his job as an officer if they failed.

However, his family insisted that they would make it to Britain for better living. They promised him he’d join them once they got there.

Everyone wants to lead a happy life and have peace in their hearts. Rizgar states that no one feels happy, regardless of age.

If the circumstances were good enough, no one would emigrate. Is that what you want? He says, “No-one.”

Rizgar and his family began their search for a better lifestyle four months ago.

The pair first traveled to Turkey, before they were smuggled via land and sea to Italy. They stayed for three weeks in a tent.

They continued their travel to northern France and stayed in another campsite. Rizgar used to speak with his family multiple times per day.

Soon, they contacted smugglers. They promised them that they would get them to Britain. However, three failed attempts were made.

They were first caught by French police as they set off. The second boat ran out fuel, so they had to return to shore. And the third boat motor failed, which meant they were again brought back to the land.

His daughter Hadia called him on Tuesday.

Rizgar recalls that she said to Rizgar, “Dad in five minutes, we’ll leave. Now everyone’s getting into the boat.” I said “OK, be cautious.”

This was all he heard about her.

He says, “I called 100 time but no response.”

Rizgar turned the TV on to hear that 27 had been killed while trying to cross over the English Channel.

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He still has not received any news from the government and spends his time chasing reporters to find out if any of their information is relevant for his family.

“I cannot do any thing, I can’t even eat and sleep… “I feel as if I am going insane.” Rizgar said that nobody can console me.

He continues to hope for good news.

“I refuse to believe any thing until I have heard their voices or seen a photograph of them recently.

Qadrya Amin Rizgar’s mother-in law, also said that she didn’t want Kajal and her grandchildren to travel to danger to the UK.

“I thought I was going to tell you: “Don’t go ‘….” Qadrya said, “Don’t go in the water. You could drown.”

Kajal insisted that she wanted her children to have a better future than what they experienced in Iraq. Kajal also lost her brother in Iraq. He is now living in Greece.

“She stated, “I’m a mom and my children have dreams. I feel so sorry for them.” Qadrya recalls how they desire to complete their education.

Hadia longed to be a doctor in England.

Qadrya said that her heart was broken when she first heard of the English Channel’s deaths. Now, she is able to only pray for her grandchildren and daughter.

She said, “They just wanted a better future.” Everybody wishes their children a better future.


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