Kurdish woman is first victim of Channel tragedy to be named. A Kurdish woman from northern Iraq has become the first victim of this week’s mass drowning in the Channel to be named.
Maryam Nuri Mohamed Amin was messaging her fiance, who lives in the UK, when the group’s dinghy started deflating on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old was one of 27 people who died while attempting to cross from France to Britain.
She tried to reassure him that they would be rescued, he told the BBC. However, all but two passengers died off the northern French coast.
Other casualties included 17 men, six other women, one of whom was pregnant, and three children. The disaster was the biggest loss of life by drowning in the Channel in years.
The survivors, an Iraqi and a Somali, have been discharged from hospital in Calais and will be questioned about what happened.
Amin, nicknamed Baran, had been trying to cross with a female relative.
She had been exchanging messages with her fiance on Snapchat just before the dinghy started to lose air and passengers began to try to get water out of it. He also said he had been following her position using GPS tracking.
Amin was from the town of Souran in the north-east of Iraqi Kurdistan, near the border with Turkey and Iran, according to the Times. Her family in Kurdistan are awaiting the return of her body for a funeral.
A relative said: “Her story is the same as everyone else – she was looking for a better life. One of her uncles was one of the people closest to me. He cared for us when my father was a political prisoner. But the family have had such a tragic life.”
The prime minister of Kurdistan, Masrour Barzani, said on Thursday that his thoughts are with families affected.
An emergency search was triggered just after 2pm on Wednesday when a fishing boat spotted several people in the sea off the coast of France.
A joint search-and-rescue operation by British and French authorities was launched, and eventually called off late on Wednesday.
Police have said they believe the boat set out from the Dunkirk area east of Calais. The French authorities have arrested five suspected people traffickers in connection with the incident.
More than three times the number of people have crossed the Channel in 2021 than last year. The issue has caused tension both in the UK government, and between the UK and France.
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Britain is to add four more countries to its red list, health officials have announced, after two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant were detected in the UK.
After fresh advice from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola will join the travel red list from 4am on Sunday.
Travellers who have returned from these four countries in the last 10 days must isolate and get a PCR test, officials said.
The Guardian understands the UKHSA is now following up on recent arrivals from these countries. Ministers have not ruled out adding further countries to the red list.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said: “We will do all we can to protect the UK public against this emerging threat and that is why we are surging testing capacity to the impacted communities and introducing travel restrictions on a further four countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola. We will not hesitate to take further action if required.”
From 4am on Sunday, non-UK and non-Irish residents who have been in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England, officials said. This does not apply to those who have stayed airside and only transited through any of these countries while changing flights.
UK and Irish residents arriving from 4am on Sunday must isolate in a government-approved facility for 10 days. During their stay, they will be required to take a PCR test on day two and day eight.