The Independent

‘I want them to apologise’

Wife of man who died in Channel tragedy looks for answers


The grieving wife of one of the 27 people who died in the November 2021 Channel tragedy has hit out at the government for a lack of contact in the year following her husband’s death.

Emebet, who lost her husband Fikeru in the incident, is calling on the government to apologise to those who lost loved ones in the incident. “Still, we have heard nothing from the authoritie­s,” Emebet said. “No one has spoken to me for evidence, we are just

waiting for news. I want to hear them apologise – and for them to say, ‘Nobody deserves that’.”

“What hurts me, what is really painful, is the way he died,” she added. “It is so hard to think that he was calling for help but nobody showed up. They have all the technologi­es to know where they are, but they didn’t come for them. He was left to die on his own in the dark and in the cold. That is what is heartbreak­ing".

Emebet, her husband Fikeru and their two children lived a comfortabl­e life in the Tigray region of Ethiopia until war broke out in November 2020, forcing Fikeru to flee in fear of his life. Emebet had given birth to their baby son just 10 days earlier. Fikeru kept in touch every day, letting his wife know where he was. On 24 November last year, he sent her a message to say he had found a smuggler to bring him to the UK and that he would be leaving later that night, travelling by small boat.

“I thought it was a big boat like in the movies – I didn’t know it was this boat,” she said. “When the journey [across the Channel] started, he called me and I was nursing our baby. I could hear the motor behind him. He said he was on the way to the UK, that he loved us and he will call tomorrow, but then nothing. We heard nothing for so many days. Then my cousin and my sisterin-law arrived to tell me there had been an accident and Fikeru had passed away. From then, we are in a very dark situation.”

For the loved ones of those who died in the Channel, justice remains out of reach. “I never thought I would reach today,” she added. “The only reason I think of getting up is because of the kids. I can’t work, and we have no home of our own – it is a very difficult situation. Fikeru, he was not just my husband, he was my best friend. By losing him, I almost lost everything.”

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