“Journey of Four Sons: Tragic Outcome Leaves Only One Returning Home”

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Survivors Lost at Sea

Adama and Moussa Sarr, two brothers, were adrift at sea off West Africa’s coast, losing track of the days. They were among 39 passengers on a traditional Senegalese fishing canoe called a pirogue, all malnourished, many on the brink of death. The Sarr brothers were rescued by a fishing vessel after weeks at sea.

The Treacherous North Atlantic Route

The migrants embarked on one of the most perilous migration routes globally, the North Atlantic sea passage from Senegal to the Canary Islands, located about 1,000 miles away by sea. They departed on July 10 from Fass Boye, a coastal village in Senegal. The absence of patrols on this route, in contrast to the Mediterranean, means boats can easily go unseen, posing significant dangers.

A Dire Journey

For the first three days, the pirogue battled strong headwinds, but conditions improved on the fourth day. By the sixth day, the passengers began running low on food and water, leading to disagreements over whether to continue or turn back. As food and water dwindled, the passengers shared the last of their resources, but some still hoarded. Deaths began occurring after the first week, with prayers and rituals performed initially, later giving way to the disposal of bodies overboard due to exhaustion.

Families in Agony

Back in Fass Boye, the families grew increasingly anxious as the days passed with no news of the missing boat. News spread through the village, and relatives reached out to local authorities and migration NGOs for help. Despite their efforts, the boat drifted for three more weeks.

A Stark Reality

The route to Spain through the Atlantic has become so prevalent that it has its own colloquial term in Senegal’s Wolof language: “Barcelona or death.” The wooden pirogues used are unsuitable for the journey, often running out of fuel or getting pushed off course. Despite the risks and the loss of lives, many young fishermen in Senegal still feel compelled to attempt the perilous journey to Europe, driven by limited opportunities at home.

Invisible Shipwrecks

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that approximately 68,000 people have reached the Canary Islands by boat from West Africa since January 2020, with about 2,700 deaths or disappearances recorded. However, the actual number of casualties is likely higher due to unreported fatal accidents, referred to as “invisible shipwrecks” by the IOM.

Survival and Healing

About five weeks into the Sarr brothers’ voyage, they spotted a Spanish fishing boat that would ultimately rescue them. After receiving medical treatment in Cape Verde, the survivors were flown back to Dakar. The return was met with protests and harassment in Fass Boye, so many survivors relocated to other areas for recovery.

A Changed Community

Fass Boye witnessed the departure of 101 individuals and the return of only 37. The tragedy has deeply impacted the community, with families mourning the loss of their loved ones. Despite the risks and losses, the desire for a better life in Europe continues to motivate young Senegalese fishermen to embark on the treacherous journey by sea.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Head Topics

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