"We thought we would die at sea"

The rubber boat carrying Sara and Mohammed from Afghanistan was close to sinking before they were rescued by the Greek coast guard. Arriving to the Moria site on Lesvos was the first place on their dangerous journey they could feel safe.
 
 

The couple left Afghanistan two months ago and has since crossed the mountains of Iran and Turkey on foot.

"The trip has been absolutely horrible and frightening. For days we did not know anything about the future, where we were or where we would end up. When we finally arrived at the coast of Turkey, we were sent on our way in a boat with about 60 others. The trip across the Mediterranean took place at night in the dark and lasted more than two hours. It was the most terrifying hours I have experienced in my life. There was no control over the boat, we didn’t know in which direction we were we sailing - we had just been sent out to sea by the smugglers," said Sara.

Pure euphoria

So far in 2016 410 people have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean. Fortunately for Sara and Ahmad, they and the other Afghans in the boat were resqued by the coast guard and brought ashore on Lesvos early in the morning.

"When we finally were picked up, we were just so happy. It was pure euphoria. There were 10 children in the boat and all were cold and wet. We were freezing, when we arrived to the Moria camp, but we got sleeping bags, dry clothes, food and a safe, dry, warm place to stay. It meant a lot to finally get to a place where you know that you're safe," says Sara.

Danish Refugee Council works in Moria camp with the Greek authorities to ensure decent reception conditions, proper information for those arriving and handing out hot meals and blankets.

It is all about getting away

The situation in Afghanistan took a wrong turn over the course of 2015. The number of killed and wounded civilians in Afghanistan was the highest since 2009. The conflict in their home country was also what prompted Sara and Ahmad to take the dangerous journey.

"Our life in Afghanistan had been destroyed. Because of the conflict between the Taliban and the government, there was nothing to build on. There was simply no future for us. We hope that we can regain faith in life and the future," says Sara with a sigh - but continues with more optimism:

"We have no specific destination. It was all just about getting away. But we hope we can get a future and a good life. My husband is a painter and we hope that we can get to a place where he can get a job and we can create a new life together," says Sara.

Got hope back

Lesvos is the first place on the route for the many refugees and migrants where they get assistance and are no longer in the hand of the smugglers.

"We are very hopeful, now we have reached this point and we feel safe. We thought we would die when we were at sea, but now we have fortunately been given new hope. It's crazy to finally be on Lesvos, and this is the only thing that matters to us now, "says Sara.