Iraqi Kurdish woman becomes first named victim of English Channel horror

Iraqi Kurdish woman becomes first named victim of English Channel horror
2 min read
27 November, 2021
Maryam Nuri Amin attempted to join her fiancé, who was living in the UK before she drowned off the northern French port of Calais alongside at least 26 others.
Around 31,500 people have attempted to cross the channel to arrive in the UK since the start of the year [Getty]

An Iraqi Kurdish woman is the first named victim of the mass drowning which occurred on Wednesday on the English channel off the northern French port of Calais.

Maryam Nuri Mohamed Amin, nicknamed Baran, attempted to join her fiancé who lives in the UK by crossing the channel from France with a female relative as a surprise, her fiancé told the BBC.

The 24 year old from the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq reportedly messaged her fiancé as her group's dinghy began to deflate with reassurance that they would be rescued, but Amin soon became one of at least 27 casualties - including 17 men, 6 women and 3 children - on the boat.

All but two of the passengers died - most of them were Kurds from Iraq or Iran.

"When she left Kurdistan she was very happy, she couldn't believe that she was going to meet her husband... no one deserves to die likes this," Maryam's best friend Imann Hassan told the BBC.

"She tried to live a better life, she chose the UK, but she died," Hassan continued, describing Amin as "very humble" with "a very big heart".

Maryam's uncle confirmed to the BBC that Amin was one of the people who drowned in Wednesday's tragic incident.

He said the family were made aware of her death from two people who were with her, and that they are waiting for her body to be flown back to Iraq.

The two survivors, from Iraq and Somalia, were treated for exhaustion and hypothermia before being discharged from a Calais hospital.

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Activists and charities have slammed the UK government for failing to protect asylum seekers after the incident, as the majority of people travelling across the English channel on small boats have a right to claim asylum in the UK but lack a legal route of travel. 

Around 31,500 people attempted to leave for Britain since the start of the year and 7,800 people have been rescued at sea, according to French authorities.