Reporter'south Notebook: For Syria'south Refugee Dead, A Final Resting Space by the Sea

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 0:41 AM

But the sea-faring route to the Greek island isn't easy. An estimated 1.000 people have drowned on the way, victims to coarse waters and their makeshift boats.

Reporter'south Notebook: For Syria'south Refugee Dead, A Final Resting Space by the Sea

The hill villages of Lesbos rising from the Aegean Sea have been a beacon of promise, in the past year, for more than half a million refugees fleeing war-torn countries.

But the sea-faring route to the Greek island isn't easy. An estimated 1.000 people have drowned on the way, victims to coarse waters and their makeshift boats. More than half of the fallen are children and, many times, all families. Most of their bodies stay lost at sea.

Now, nestled between olive groves, two streets far from the seashore where they drowned, these asylum-seekers are laid to rest. Local authorities on Lesbos have honored the refugees who lost their lives reaching its shores with a committed cemetery, which provides them a dignified burial, in the Muslim tradition. More than seventy men, women and children have been buried there, so far.

The bodies are prepared in a committed room at the cemetery, according to religious tradition, on a special wooden table. Then, they're wrapped in white shrouds for burial.

Islamic tombs are generally marked with ordinary marble slabs bearing the title and dates of birth and death. But in this cemetery, so many of the names are unknown. For those, the tombstone reads "unidentified female/male" followed by an approximate age, a date of discovery at sea, date of burial – and the numbers of their DNA samples, kept by Lesbos authorities in case anyone comes to discover them.

The International Organisation on Migration estimates that more than 600.000 refugees, mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have reached Lesbos since January two thousand fifteen. Those who survived the journey have mostly moved N toward Germany and Sweden. Those who didn't presently have a space to rest.

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