Victims of the death ship in Tripoli . We escaped from the hell of poverty

The tragedy of the sinking of the boat of fugitives from Lebanese hell in the sea of ​​Tripoli continues to dominate the scene, amid calls to hold responsible for what happened to the city after a boat sank off the port of Tripoli on Saturday night, with people on board in escape from their stricken country.

Survivors’ Reports Collect That The Country’s Poverty, Unemployment, and Desperation Driven them to Migrate in seek a better life.

I risked my life to escape hell

Maher Hammouda, 23, one of the survivors of the “death boat” told Al “I decided to risk my life and escape across the sea in search of a dignified life that was an alternative to hell in where we are. . I work on a monthly salary that does not exceed $ 40. I got sick and I cannot buy medicine – if it was available, so how about I joined in hospital and I decided to undergo surgery, this is a frightening scenario that I dare not even imagine, especially since I am the only breadwinner in my family. “

Hamouda insisted that what stopped their voyage was not climatic factors, but rather a military cruiser ordered by an officer.

Army cruisers sank the boat

He said: “The boat was sailing normally three hours after we departed from northern Lebanon. We were laughing and exchanging conversations about what awaits us away from the hell of Lebanon. It only took a few minutes to enter the territorial waters until we are got caught by three Lebanese Army military cruisers surrounding us, and the larger cruiser advanced towards us. And you got attached to us, and then the boat started sinking. “

He also added: “We started screaming and asking for help from military personnel to rescue the women and children first, because they were in the lower deck of the boat, but the officer in charge replied: “Happy, you and your families are dead.” do I want to give you a grave?

“I couldn’t take what the officer said when I saw my comrades drown in front of me. I threw a rope in sea ​​and I started swimming and I helped rescue the passengers and get them on the army cruisers, ”continued Hammouda.

60 passengers in boat

While the Lebanese army had announced in a statement that his forces had saved 47 people from the boat, while the High Commissioner for Refugees in Lebanon confirmed, in a joint statement with the International Organization for Migration that the boat had no fewer than 84 people on board, Hamouda denied, pointing out. We helped the army rescue 28 out of 60 passengers, not 47 as stated in the army statement, and the rest are missing. “

In a low and sad voice, Maher cries for his boat mates, the people of the neighborhood where he lives in the Kobba area of ​​the city of Tripoli. He said: “We have raised funds to pay the cost of the trip to escape Lebanese hell. What pains us most is that the city of Tripoli, which is classified as the poorest in the Mediterranean Sea, is home to the richest people in the world. world, the first of which is Prime Minister Najib Mikati and other parliamentarians and ministers “.

They decided to impoverish Tripoli

He added: “For thirty years and until today, they have agreed to” impoverish “Tripoli and humiliate its people. There is no electricity or water. These are our most basic rights that they have denied us.”

Despite the danger of escape via sea ​​and the high cost of the trip, Maher confirms that he will repeat the risk until he manages to reach the coasts of Italy.

If Maher returned safely to Tripoli, Amid Dandshi, who also survived the accident, left in mare a wife and three children, who are still missing so far.

I want to marry 3 newlyweds

Colonel Dandshi told “In my life I have never worn a suit. I only know how to wear jeans, but I will wear a suit because I want to marry 3 newlyweds.” I lost two children, one 8 years old, another 4 years old, and a five year old daughter who was deprived of her womb, as well as my wife ”.

Aqeed Dandshi and his three sisters are considered the “minds” of this journey, taking with them his children, his wife and relatives from the same family. The destination was towards the Italian coast.

The army drowned us

The father in mourning indicated that they had boarded a boat that cost more than $ 40,000, and was equipped with all the means of survival, as well as a “GPS” to determine destinations, but the army drowned us. Yes, I hold the military responsible for what happened to my family and the rest of the passengers. “

He also added: “I wanted a new and dignified life for my family. I wanted to reach Europe to get a foreign passport for my son which would give him a dignified life. in future, but the army prevented me. Because? Can he guarantee me a dignified life in Lebanon? Why didn’t he allow us to continue the journey? “?

Burning, Colonel Dandashi sealed his speech: “We are not immune. But we want to guarantee a dignified life for our children away from this hell”.

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The number of departures has increased since 2020

Since 2020, Lebanon has seen an increase in the number of people leaving via sea ​​in search of a new horizon of life.

In 2022, 38 boats carrying more than 1,500 passengers attempted dangerous voyages from the shores of northern Lebanon, more than 75% of which were intercepted or rejected.

To date, in addition to the last boat, at least three boats, carrying 64 passengers, have left the Lebanese coasts. Two of them were intercepted before leaving Lebanese waters.

The sinking of the boat comes a week after the army announced the arrest of a boat in Lebanese territorial waters at Arida point, carrying 20 Syrian citizens, including children and women, on board during their irregular departure from Lebanese coast.

Irregular migration across the sea is active as summer approaches, in particularly from the north, on the beaches of Tripoli, Minya and Arida in Akkar.

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