Doctor describes refugees’ horrific journeys to Europe
A doctor working for the humanitarian aid agency Human Appeal has spoken of the “harrowing” scenes she has witnessed since helping refugees in southern Europe.
Dr Nahla Eleraky, who arrived with Human Appeal last month, has been supporting thousands of injured and traumatised refugees as they arrive their boats arrive on Lesvos:
“Should the refugees narrowly escape death and make it to shore, all those on board must first step into the water and walk the last 10ft to land. This is a major problem to those who arrive late in the day and must survive the bitter cold nights in their wet clothes.
“Despite the difficulties they face on this short journey across the sea, one of the first things they do is give a round of applause to their ‘captain', an ordinary refugee who was forced at gun point by the smuggler to drive the motored rubber boat.”
Dr Nahla, who came with her husband from Birmingham, UK, says, despite the witnessing the plight of refugees, it was one of the best decisions of her life:
“We've seen refugees, including children, the elderly and heavily pregnant women, walk 5km of unforgiving terrain in the scorching sun or the freezing nights from the coast to a bus stop called Molyvos, where they would then wait for buses to drive them the 70km to the camps where they can register.
“Upon arrival to Molyvos some would learn that buses had been cancelled for the day due to crowding or that there were too many people (at times 1000+) waiting, so their chance of getting on a bus within 24 hours was very slim and many would choose to walk to another bus stop, 20km away through narrow, rocky mountain roads.”
“Every human being just wants happiness,” she says. “This whole journey will live with me for the rest of my life.”
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