Refugees bound for Sweden « My children were swallowed by the sea » – By Cecilia Uddén

Article  •  Publié sur Souria Houria le 30 octobre 2013
Sohas fyra döttrar. Foto: Sveriges Radio båtflyktingar Alexandria

Soha's four children. Photo: Sveriges Radio

Ten days ago a refugee boat with Syrian refugees sank outside of Alexandria, Egypt. Those in the boat say they were eventually heading to Sweden, as this country grants permanent residence to all Syrians who make it here.

Twelve people drowned in the accident and the survivors are now being held in custody at a police station in Egypt. Swedish Radio’s correspondent Cecilia Uddén was given permission to visit the police station and spoke to Soha, a mother who was on the boat when it sank. She had taken her four children with her on the boat, only one survived.

Soha tried to keep her daughters over water but one after the other they lost their grip until she was left only with her oldest daugher, 10-year-old Sarah.

« We only had one life-vest. I held Haya in my arms, the other girls clung to me, but I did not succeed in keeping them above the water, the waves swallowed us and when Haya was no longer breathing, I let go of her to save the others. ‘Goodbye my daughter, may god be with you’, I said. The others – Sama, Julia, and Sarah held on to me, but one after the other, they lost their grip and I couldn’t save them, » she told Swedish Radio.

They floated in the water for six hours before finally getting rescued and now they face deportation along with the other survivors. They broke Egyptian law by trying to leave the country without permission.

Most of them, if not all of them, say that their destination was Sweden.

Soha told Swedish Radio that she wanted to come to Sweden because she hoped they would be treated like human beings, and because she has two sisters there.

« We fled death in Syria only to find ourselves face to face with death in the Mediterranean », she says.