As the financial situation becomes unbearable in Lebanon, some would rather risk their lives sailing across the sea to escape poverty.
In search of a better life, passengers on the now-called “Boats of Death” have been setting sail for Cyprus but never making it to their destination.
Both Lebanese and Syrian nationals residing in the suburbs of Tripoli gathered as much money as they could and paid a smuggler to get them out.
AFP reported that passengers had to pay as much as 5,000,000 L.L. (over $3,000) each and were told they’d have food and water and that they would arrive safely in Cyprus.
And like that, a vessel in poor condition, carrying more than its maximum capacity of people, made its way to Cyprus on a dangerous journey that would prove to be fatal.
“We’d either arrive at our destination or die in the process. But here in Lebanon, we die slowly,” said Mohamad, one of the scores of travelers who were returned to Lebanon, to Sky News.
But unlike Mohamad, who came back alive, some passengers who left never reached their destination and never returned.
More than 10 people perished on the last “death boat” which sailed off the coast of Miniyeh to Cyprus, which was adrift for a week.
Of around 50 passengers including men, women, and children, only 36 were found alive, according to Reuters.
A mother, who sailed with her children, experienced hell on that ill-fated journey. With the boat lost at sea, her infant son, thirsty and starving, died in front of her eyes. She had to throw his body into the water.
It is startling, but her son was not the only child who died and was thrown in the sea during the dangerous trip.
After his 3-year-old cousin died, a passenger named Mohamad jumped off the vessel into the water to swim in search of help. He is still lost at sea and presumed to be dead.
His mother is pleading the authorities to find him whether dead or alive.
Like Mohamad, a Syrian national named Chadi did the same. Being a father himself, he took the initiative to look for help for two children dying of hunger and thirst on that doomed boat.
On Friday, residents in Tripoli mourned the life of one of the victims of the last boat ride, Mohamad Al-Hosni, whose body was found dead on a beach south of Beirut.
Terrifyingly, this was one of many boats that attempted to sail to Cyprus. “The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has tracked 21 boats leaving Lebanon between July and Sept. 14,” reported Reuters.
Earlier this month, Cypriot authorities sent back over 200 Lebanese and Syrians that arrived on five boats after the Beirut port explosion.
Cyprus is now on alert for more immigrants and Lebanese authorities are trying to deal with it.
It seems every day there is a tragedy and new stories of endless death.
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