Saturday 10 December 2016

'Everyone began to scream' - Humans of New York shine light on human cost of refugee crisis

Published 29/09/2015 | 13:30

The 'Humans of New York' Facebook page are aiming to shine a light on the long-term suffering caused by the refugee crisis.

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The page, which normally focused on individuals on the streets of New York, has branched out in it's latest campaign to discuss with refugees their experience escaping their countries.

In the latest post, photographer Brandon Stanton tells the story of a refugee in Kos, Greece who lost everything in the journey from Turkey.

She told him that she and her husband "sold everything" to afford the journey. "We worked 15 hours a day in Turkey until we had enough money to leave".

When time came to leave, the couple couldn't change their mind as they'd put their life savings behind the escape attempt.

"Once we saw the boat, many of us wanted to go back, but he told us that anyone who turned back would not get a refund. We had no choice".

During the trip - in which the boat was overcrowded - the passengers were told to "throw their baggage into the sea" as water began to come into the boat.

"We were in the lower compartment and it began to fill with water. It was too tight to move. Everyone began to scream".

“My husband and I sold everything we had to afford the journey. We worked 15 hours a day in Turkey until we had enough...

Posted by Humans of New York on Monday, 28 September 2015

The distraught woman told Stanton that her husband saved her life before saving another. "We were the last ones to get out alive. My husband pulled me out of the window... in the ocean, he took off his life jacket and gave it to a woman".

The woman spoke of how the couple swam "for hours" before her husband became "too tired" to swim any further.

"It was so dark we could not see.... I could hear him calling me but he got further and further away".

"Eventually a boat found me. They never found my husband".

The harrowing post has been shared almost 200,000 times with outpourings of support from fans of the page. One commenter wrote "my heart aches for you... no person should ever have to live through this" while another wrote "your husband was a HERO".

Humans of New York fan Tiffany Staats wrote that a "piece of my heart was chipped away while reading your heartbreaking story".

"I've lost a husband as well, and I promise you, they never really leave us".

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