Off the coast of Syria, an unprecedented carnage at sea in opposition to a backdrop of basic collapse in Lebanon

Off the coast of Syria, an unprecedented carnage at sea in opposition to a backdrop of basic collapse in Lebanon

Qarqaf is in mourning. A funeral announcement comes from the loudspeakers of the mosque, formally confirming what the village of Akkar, in northern Lebanon, already is aware of: Salma Tellawi died of drowning. Together with her husband, Wissam, and their 4 youngsters, the younger lady was on board the overloaded boat which sank Thursday, September 22, off Tartous, Syria, after leaving the Lebanese coast.

100 victims are counted by the Syrian authorities, and the horrible toll stays provisional. This carnage is unprecedented since a circulate of clandestine departures took form from Lebanon, in opposition to a background of generalized collapse.

Additionally learn the archive (2021): Article reserved for our subscribers In Lebanon, “the state is failing” within the face of the disaster

The variety of passengers on this boat of loss of life, estimated between 100 and twenty and 100 and seventy, is unsure. Leaving from Minieh, on the northern coast, Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians hoped to succeed in Italy. Solely twenty of them could possibly be rescued. The corpses recovered by Syrian coastguards and rescue employees had been transported to a hospital in Tartous, a port metropolis situated about fifty kilometers from the border with Lebanon.

A relative of Salma Tellawi shows a photo of the mother and her four children, all drowned, in the village of Qarqaf, in northern Lebanon, on September 24, 2022.

Saturday night, September 24, in Qarqaf, household and neighbors put together to honor Salma’s stays. The 4 cubs had been additionally swallowed by the waves of the japanese Mediterranean; three of them have already been repatriated and buried. The youngest, Mahmoud, 4 years previous, continues to be lacking. Within the courtyard of Salma’s mother and father’ home, adorned with bougainvillea, chairs are arrange for condolences. The eyes are stuffed with disappointment. Considered one of Salma’s aunts, who bears the identical first title because the deceased, bursts into tears on the point out of the lifeless. “Wissam and Salma lived in Bab El-Tebbaneh [un faubourg pauvre de Tripoli, à 25 kilomètres de Qarqaf]. He labored in a storage. With the disaster, their life had grow to be very tough”she particulars.

“The boat was in a horrible state”

His voice fills with anger in the direction of Wissam, the one survivor of the household. “It was he who made the choice to go away and bears the duty. The boat was in a horrible state. Mohamed, Salma’s father, had opposed this journey by sea, due to the hazard. » The latter was in Syria on Saturday to convey again the physique of his daughter.

It was additional north, by way of the Aridha border publish, on the finish of a bridge linking Lebanon to Syria, that the primary corpses had been transferred. A chaotic crowd throngs there, seeking information. Close to the hospital the place the drowned lie, the ambiance is electrical, describes a Syrian from Tartous.

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