Lebanese asylum-seekers home after deadly boat accident
BEIRUT (AFP) - Eighteen Lebanese asylum-seekers who survived when their boat sank off Indonesia last week returned home on Sunday voicing anger at the government's failure to provide them with jobs and security.
They wept as they embraced relatives at Beirut's international airport but also railed against the state, accusing it of indifference towards the insecurity plaguing Lebanon and rising unemployment, made worse by an influx of Syrian refugees.
In total, 68 Lebanese, mostly from poor areas in the north of the country like the Akkar region, were on board an Australia-bound boat when it sank on Sept 27 off the coast of Java. Between 80 and 120 people, most of them from the Middle East, were on board the boat. Twenty-eight bodies, many of them women and children, were recovered, but 22 people are still missing.
The survivors looked tired and some were clearly upset as they were welcomed by tearful family members. One of the survivors fainted and had to be helped by a relative to get back on his feet while a woman welcomed her son by shouting repeatedly, "God be praised" before breaking down in sobs.