‘He wanted to have a better life from the horror we used to live in.” These are the words of Al-Fatih Hamdallah, the older brother of Abdulfatah Hamdallah, the 22-year-old Sudanese man who drowned trying to cross the Channel in a tiny inflatable dinghy with shovels for oars. Hamdallah had left West Kordofan, a Sudanese province bordering war-torn Darfur, in 2014; he made his way to Europe via Libya and the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to Italy.
These are not journeys somebody would make if they felt they had another choice. Behind every man, woman and child who risks their life trying to make the treacherous journey to western Europe from Africa and the Middle East lies an individual story, but the common thread is a desperate attempt to flee conflict and extreme poverty. That parents are willing to jeopardise their children’s lives, not just their own, that a man