He took one of the deadliest migrant routes, hoping to save his cancer-stricken son

Syrian refugee Thaer al-Rahal, attempting to save his cancer-stricken son, died while navigating one of the deadliest migrant routes across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

The dire choice: Rahal made the desperate decision to board a smuggler’s overloaded boat in hopes of reaching Germany for his son’s medical treatment.
* His son’s treatment had been intermittently funded by a donor after the United Nations refugee agency was unable to assist.
* Rahal borrowed thousands of dollars to pay for the journey, which began in Libya and had Italy as its intended destination.

The deadly journey: The overcrowded boat journey resulted in the loss of food and water, leading to fears of not surviving the night.
* Eyewitness accounts suggest the boat capsized due to overloading, others claim it happened when passengers scrambled for water bottles donated from another ship.
* As of the known survivors, Rahal was not among them.

Backdrop: The Mediterranean crossing is among the most dangerous migrant routes globally.
* Between 2018 and the end of last year, 12,345 migrants died on this route.
* Smugglers often load passengers on barely seaworthy vessels with minimal resources, and migrants can face threats from Libyan coast guards funded by the European Union.

Struggles continue: Since Rahal’s death, his wife and four children remain in a refugee camp in Jordan, with no long-term plan for their son’s cancer treatment.
* The family had previously been financially stable until the cost of Rahal’s medical procedures depleted their savings, forcing them to relocate to the refugee camp.
* Despite her husband’s death, the son’s frequent chemotherapy sessions continue, with the mother and child making an arduous journey to the hospital.

View original article on NPR

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