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11-year-old Syrian refugee dies after having insulin thrown overboard


As Eyas Hasoun’s daughter Raghad died in his arms, he felt he should have been able to save her.

“She was fading,” said Mr. Hasoun. “She murmured ‘Daddy, Daddy.’ I should have been able to take care of everything, resolve every problem, protect my child, sacrificing myself if necessary. But I couldn’t do it. And this fault will stay with me my whole life.”

Mr. Hasoun and his family were fleeing war-torn Syria for Germany, where he hoped to find better treatment for his 11-year-old daughter’s type 1 diabetes. They were smuggled first to Egypt, and from there they aimed for Italy.

Mr. Hasoun, who ran a pharmacy in Aleppo, split his daughter’s insulin into two bags, in case one got lost. He kept one; his wife, Naila, held on to the other.

To get on the boat, the Hasoun’s had to wade through 300 metres of head-height water. Mr. Hasoun lost his insulin pack on the way, but Mrs. Hasoun kept hers by holding it above her head.

Once the family got aboard, things got even worse. The traffickers, armed with assault rifles, ordered Mrs. Hasoun to throw the backpack overboard.

“My wife replied that is was more precious to her than her own soul,” explained Mr. Hasoun. “She begged for pity. The trafficker ripped it out of her arms and threw it in the sea.”

“It was useless to resist – the traffickers were armed with Kalashnikovs. The water reached our necks. My rucksack was soaked with water.”


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