The father of the first confirmed victim of the Channel migrant tragedy has accused France of allowing “butchers” to send innocent people to their deaths.
Baran Nouri Hamadamin, a newly engaged student, was identified as one of 27 migrants who drowned when a flimsy boat capsized six miles off Calais in stormy weather.
Ms Nouri, 24, had travelled through Germany and France to join her fiancé in the UK, paying people smugglers to take her across the Channel.
But as Karzan Asaad, her fiancé, tracked her phone GPS across the sea, the signal abruptly went dead just over four hours into the journey. Her body was identified by a relative at a French morgue on Friday.
On Friday night Mr Asaad said they had been sending messages on Snapchat to each other just before the dinghy began to lose air. Ms Hamadamin told her fiancé that the boat was deflating and the passengers were trying to bail out the seawater.
In her last message she tried to reassure him that rescuers were on the way.
Speaking from his home in Soran, in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, Nuri Mohammed Mohammed Amin, her devastated father, urged France to stop allowing people smugglers to treat people “like animals”.
“This is a tragedy not only for me but for the whole of Kurdistan and the world,” he said.
“I ask the French government to tighten their borders and stop those butchers. They are not smugglers, they are mafias. This is my only request.
“Those boats that they are using are not made for that purpose. They treat those poor people like animals. Where were her human rights?
“It is the role of the French government to have a strict procedure to stop those butchers to avoid further tragedies. And I hope our people stop even thinking about migrating using similar ways.”
‘Woman in the prime of her life’
Relatives said Ms Nouri - who was also known as Maryam - was newly engaged and had left her studies early to be with her fiancé in the UK. She had an Italian visa and travelled from Istanbul to Italy on November 2, then spent six days in Germany. Pictures shared by relatives show her posing with her engagement ring only weeks ago.
“The situation is just awful,” one of her cousins said last night. “She was a woman in the prime of her life. It’s a total tragedy and the whole family are in shock.”
French and British investigators are understood to be tracking Ms Nouri’s contacts in the days before the sinking, to track down the smugglers responsible.
On Friday, her fiancé said that he had been following the movements of his spouse during her boat journey when her GPS signal suddenly cut off.
"I am in a very bad state," he said.
"She is not in the UK, which means that she is gone. It is very sad for me, and for everyone.
"I had continuous contact with my wife and I was tracking her live GPS. After four hours and 18 minutes from the moment she went into that boat, I think they were in the middle of the sea, then I lost her.”
Appeals for loved ones continue
Other families were issuing desperate appeals on social media on Friday for news of their missing loved ones, after 27 people died in the deadliest day on the Channel since the migrant crisis began. French authorities have not yet confirmed the identities of the dead, who include 17 men, seven women - one of whom was pregnant - and three children.
It emerged on Friday that another migrant feared to have died in the Channel tragedy sent a final message of reassurance to his family, adding: “Just pray for us.”
Family members last heard from Deniz Ahmed Mohammed, 27, a Kurdish migrant, in the early hours of Wednesday, as he set out for the UK in a people smuggler’s boat.
In a voice message sent from Mr Mohammed’s phone and passed to The Telegraph, an unknown man says Mr Mohammed is “safe with me” and hopes the pair will “arrive safely”, as the chugging sound of an engine is heard in the background.
"Hello my friend, how are you? I swear your brother is fine - he doesn't have any problem and he is safe with me,” the man says.
“Now we are on the water, inshalla we will arrive safely. Just pray for us."
It takes the total so far in 2021 to 26,611, compared to 8,410 in 2020 and just 1,850 in 2019.
The boat that sank off Calais was carrying significantly more migrants than initially thought and perhaps around 40, investigators now believe, according to police sources.
They are also moving away from the theory it was hit by a cargo ship and believe it took water, which created a “movement of panic” and led to the boat capsizing.
Mr Mohammed’s nephew, Darya, told how his family in Ranya, Iraq, feared the worst after hearing nothing more from him for days.
“He was alone, but there was another guy with him who was also from Ranya,” Darya said.
“He was suffering from poverty, then spent everything he collected to go to the UK, and this is what happened. My grandfather hasn’t even eaten until now. It is like a funeral for them.”
Mr Mohammed - also known as Afrasya - was born in 1994 and has five sisters and five brothers in Ranya. He completed high school but could not afford a university place, his nephew said.
“He was working as a tile worker for 20,000 IQD (around £10) a day," he added. "The family's financial condition is very bad. He collected some money through working as a labourer.”
Two men from Ranya, a Kurdish town in Iraq, are also feared to be amongst those who drowned in Wednesday's tragedy.
Others in Ranya said they were still trying to get a hold of Shakar Ali. His brother was circulating his Facebook profile around to different WhatsApp groups of people in Calais, to see if anyone had heard from him.
A total of 757 migrants crossed the Channel in 17 boats on Wednesday - the day 27 people lost their lives attempting the perilous journey.
French authorities also prevented 176 people from reaching the UK in eight incidents, according to the Home Office.
Just hours after the tragedy off the coast of Calais, a further 62 migrants successfully made the dangerous journey in two boats on Thursday.
French authorities also stopped 30 people from making the crossing in two incidents.
The latest confirmed figures mean 6,869 migrants have arrived in 201 boats so far in November.