Lebanese take to the sea — risking their lives to reach Europe

In early September, Zeinab Kaak and Nazeer Mohammed sold almost everything they owned: their home, television, furniture, household goods, even Kaak’s jewelry — all to raise the 15 million Lebanese pounds, or about $2,000, which smugglers asked for to take them to Europe.

Mohammed had gone down to Tripoli’s beachfront looking for smugglers: “Everyone knows about it. When you walk on the Corniche, you can hear people going. You can see people going. Everyone is doing it.”

He’s talking about the lengths that people are going to escape Lebanon — taking dinghies and small boats to reach Cyprus, an EU nation just 100 miles off of Lebanon’s northern coast.


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