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With scores missing from shipwreck, family members flock to Greek migrant camp

June 19, 2023 at 5:22 pm

Rescued migrants find shelter at a depot, following a shipwreck off shore in Kalamata , Greece on June 14, 2023 [Costas Baltas – Anadolu Agency]

Inside a fenced migrant camp near Athens, relatives hugged survivors on Monday, while others refused to abandon hope of finding loved ones who were among the scores missing after one of the Mediterranean’s deadliest shipping disasters last week, Reuters reports.

Only 104 people are known to have survived when an ageing fishing vessel carrying up to 750 people sank in the early hours of 14 June to the south-west of Greece.

There are 78 confirmed dead. Search and rescue operations are ongoing, although no survivors or bodies have been found since last week.

Relatives have been turning up outside the Malakasa migrant facility since survivors were brought here on Friday, showing photos of the missing through the camp gates, in the hopes someone might recognise them.

READ: UN agencies call for ‘urgent, decisive’ steps after Mediterranean migrant boat disaster

“I’m looking for my brother. I want to see where the boat sank to try to find him,” said 54-year-old Mohamed El Sayed El-Dadamony Radwan, who travelled from Germany, after re-uniting with a nephew who survived.

Radwan showed a photo of his missing brother on his phone.

“I want to look for him because I can’t find (his name), not in the hospital records of those who perished or in the list of those who survived,” he said.

The vessel is thought to have set off with passengers from the Libyan coastal city of Tobruk on 10 June. Most of them on board were from Egypt, Syria and Pakistan, Greek government officials have said.

Greek authorities say the vessel, which they had been monitoring for about 15 hours, flipped and capsized about 25 minutes after its engine stalled in the early hours of 14 June.

They have said occupants of the vessel repeatedly refused offers of assistance, though international agencies, including Amnesty International, have called for greater clarity from Greece over the tragedy, and whether enough was done to prevent it.

READ: How migrant tragedy unfolded on the high seas, off Greece

On Sunday, there was an emotional reunion for Syrian teenager, Mohammad Hadhoud, 18, who survived the wreck, and his elder brother, Fadi, who had first spotted each other through a metal barricade in the coastal city of Kalamata on Friday.

At Malakasa, Mohammad sprinted into his brother’s open arms as they both sobbed, holding each other for several moments. Fadi said their brother-in-law died in the shipwreck.

Others had yet to receive news of loved ones.

“My uncle was with me on the same boat, the boat that capsized. I am looking for my uncle but I can’t find him,” said 22-year-old Egyptian survivor, Atia Al Said.

Nine other Egyptians who survived are in Greek custody for questioning. They were taken before a magistrate on Monday.

In Pakistan, 14 people were arrested in connection with the alleged trafficking of several of the victims, police there said.

READ: 9 Egyptians arrested and accused of smuggling after Greek boat tragedy