Iraqi family heartbroken and awaiting answers year on from Channel tragedy

- Advertisement -

LONDON: The brother of an Iraqi teenager who went missing in last year’s Channel tragedy said his heart is breaking as he continues to wait for answers from French and UK authorities.

Twana Mamand Mohammad, 18, was on board a dinghy on Nov. 24 when it sank, killing 31 people. Only two people survived, making it the worst Channel disaster for 30 years. 

The young Iraqi, an aspiring footballer who had dreams of playing in the Premier League for Manchester City, had left Ranya in northern Iraq 15 weeks earlier, the Metro newspaper reported. His father put his home up as collateral to pay smugglers around £20,000 for his safe arrival.

Zana, his brother, has been in Paris for seven days, trying to find out what happened, Metro reported.

“A year after Twana went missing, my heart is breaking as we wait for answers. I have traveled from Iraq to France in the hope that we may find out what happened, but I still have not had any news,” he told Metro. 

“Words alone cannot express my family’s sadness, it only gets worse with each day that passes. 

“Our hearts are in pain while we wait and hope that one day we will be given some news. We were a very happy family, but our lives completely changed when Twana went missing.  

“Now, we are in constant sadness; not a day goes by without my mother and father crying. Twana’s many friends are also broken-hearted and don’t know how to cope without him. 

“Any news would at least be a little comfort to lift our hearts.”

Passengers on the stricken dinghy contacted UK and French rescue services, but each side insisted that the other should respond.

The French coast guard did not arrive until the following afternoon after a fisherman spotted bodies just inside the country’s waters, according to refugee charity Care4Calais.

The French government announced last week that it is holding an internal investigation into the disaster, whereas the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch is leading a British inquiry.

Care4Calais, Stand Up To Racism and Britain’s Trade Union Congress issued a joint statement condemning the authorities’ failure to rescue passengers and their lack of progress in determining what happened. 

They said: “Transcripts of the emergency call logs made by people on the boat to French authorities revealed that repeated calls for help were made to both the UK and French emergency services, who both spent crucial hours passing the buck about which of them should rescue a stricken small boat … instead of dispatching a crew to save the people onboard. 

“A year on, the victims’ families are still waiting for answers on how they could have been so badly let down by the authorities. 

“The British authorities are waiting for the outcome of an ongoing Marine Accident Investigation Branch before any further inquiry takes place. The victims’ families are still waiting to be contacted by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.”



Recent Articles

Related Stories