A week ago, the boat carrying Bilal Dandashi, his relatives and dozens of others hoping to escape Lebanon and reach Europe sank in the Mediterranean. Dandashi still doesn’t know if his wife and children are alive or dead.
Their boat sank in the darkness of night in a matter of seconds after a collision with a Lebanese Navy ship trying to stop the migrants. Of the around 60 men, women and children on board, 47 were rescued, seven bodies were found — and the rest remain missing.
The tragedy underscored the desperate lengths to which some Lebanese are going after their country’s economy collapsed, driving two-thirds of the population into poverty with no hope on the horizon for any recovery.
Lebanon has now become a source for migrants making the dangerous boat crossing to reach European shores. There are no firm figures, but hundreds of Lebanese in recent months have attempted the journey.