Deathscapes

Alan Kurdi - Sea Crossing 0 - How many others on board? parallax 1

Deathscapes

How many others on board?

There are conflicting reports on how many people were on the same boat as Alan and his family. This makes it difficult to confirm the exact number of people who did not survive this journey. UK news media-outlets (BBC, 2015; The Guardian, 2015; the Telegraph; AFP, 2015) reported that the death toll was at least twelve people for allegedly two boats making the crossing that night. Mr Kurdi also confirmed this number in a video interview (BBC, 2015 ), not counting the boat’s skipper.

According to Reuters (2015), however, 16 people boarded the inflatable craft along with the Kurdis. Zinab Abbas and her husband Ahmad Hadi Jawwad from Iraq also lost two of their three children in this crossing, their 11-year-old daughter (Zanab) and 9-year-old son (Haider).

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The difficulty in ascertaining exactly how many embarked, how many died, and how many survived, or the identity of those who did not make it, is a common factor in official and media reports on the rising death toll at sea. The international and national waters that map the maritime borders of Fortress Europe – the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas -have become a watery graveyard over the last years. Once safe shorelines, the beaches of favourite tourist destinations like Greece and Italy mark increasingly hostile rather than welcoming points of disembarkation. At sea, Coast Guard vessels on Search and Rescue (SAR) missions from EU member-states or EU agencies like Frontex stand accused of compounding the suffering (as revealed in a recent report entitled Death By Rescue) (Cox, 2016).

UN and EU agencies charged with compiling official statistics, humanitarian organizations, and mainstream-media reporting have their own, often conflicting, stories to tell. with a number of legal and political implications about national, and international responsibilities towards the deceased, and those who do survive.


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