Brother’s murder forced father-of-five to flee

Published: 15 December 2015 22:02 CET

By John Engedal Nissen, IFRC

An Iraqi father-of-three whose brother was brutally murdered by insurgents has finally found safety in Austria after a harrowing escape to Europe.

Nashwan A.Mohammed fled Iraq after his brother, a soldier, was executed by militants. “One day when I got home, someone had written ‘this house belongs to Islamic State’ across the front,” explains Mohammed. “I feared the same would happen to me as happened to my brother.”

The 38-year-old, his wife and three children had little choice but to set out on a dangerous journey – a journey especially difficult for his two-year-old son Adam who had broken his leg before the family left.

“His leg had not healed properly so whenever it was cold – which was much of the journey – he was in pain,” says Mohammed.

The sea crossing from Turkey to Greece was particularly tough, with the family forced to throw their belongings from the overcrowded boat to stop it sinking. From there, they made their way through the Balkans towards western Europe and have been provided with support by the Red Cross in many countries.

“The journey was long and we are very tired. But I am very grateful to Red Cross for everything they gave us; food, clothing, medicine,” Mohammed says.

Mohammed and his family are now in Austria, where they are seeking asylum and hope to begin to build a future.

 “I want my children to have a good life, nothing else,” he says.

The Austrian Red Cross has provided support to 570,000 vulnerable migrants, including 1.5 million meals, medical care for 70,000 people and the transportation of 3,000 people to hospitals. More than 16,500 volunteers and 1,200 staff are involved in the migration response. The majority of migrants have travelled onwards to Germany, while up to 90,000 migrants have applied for asylum in Austria in 2015.