Délégationdu Pas-de-Calais

One too many…

Not having heard from their young Sudanese friend Hussam Hothman since 22 July 2105, three young migrants contacted Secours Catholique. They asked us to inform the police of the disappearance of the Sudanese man, whose brother lives in Britain. We did so on 10 August.

After extensive inquiries we received the bad news. Since 23 July Hussam Othman’s body had been lying in the morgue of Dover Hospital. The British authorities had carried out inquiries in France and in Italy without success. Hussam had no identity papers on him and the British, who assumed he was a minor on account of his small stature, were on the point of giving him an anonymous burial.

Contacted by the British police, Hussam’s brother Hassan went to Dover and was able to identify the body of his younger brother. “It was terrible to see a body labelled ‘anonymous’ and to find it was really my brother”, he said. “My brother was never anonymous. His ambition cost him his life.”

We now know a bit more about the circumstances of Hussam’s death. Trying to get onto a train at the entry to the tunnel, he received a blow to the head which provoked an internal haemorrhage and several fractures. On arriving in England he sadly succumbed to his injuries.

Hussam will be buried in Birmingham, where his brother Hassan lives. Hussam had gained a baccalaureat in civil engineering and left Sudan on account of its ongoing conflicts.

He intended to get a degree and a PhD. His death is a terrible ordeal for his brother Hassan, his companions on his journey, his parents and for us. He was only 22 years old.

This tragedy will certainly not be the last. There are thousands like Hussam living in terrible situations, about to leave for the Libyan desert or waiting on the north and south shores of the Mediterranean. Others, exhausted, wait for a train to carry them through the tunnel on the last leg of the journey which they hope will take them to England.

For some there is the hope of a better life in Britain. Others, sadly, risk ending as a lifeless corpse, anonymous and alone…

Mariam Guerey, Secours Catholique aid worker

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