'Thank you Canada': Alan Kurdi's family arrives in Vancouver

Relatives of Alan Kurdi, the Syrian boy whose lifeless body was photographed washed up on the shores of a Turkish beach earlier this year, arrived in Canada on Monday.

See Full Article

Mohammed Kurdi, his wife and their five children touched down in Vancouver shortly before noon. They were greeted by his sister and sponsor, Tima Kurdi, and a small crowd of well-wishers waving miniature Canadian flags.

“Thank you Canada! Thank you Canada!” the Kurdi children chanted in English, during an emotional press conference for which Tima Kurdi provided translation from Arabic.

“We are very happy, finally, this is a dream come true,” said Mohammed Kurdi.

“We almost lost hope, but thank you to the Canadian government and the Canadian people who made it happen, and to the group of five (private refugee sponsors) and our family,” he added.

One of the older boys said he was thankful not only to the Canadian people and Canadian government, but also to government of Turkey, to which the family had first fled.

“I’m happy to start going to school and start a new life, but at the same time, all the thoughts in the airplane, the 10 hours, (we were) thinking about the cousin,” the boy said, according to Tima Kurdi.

Tima Kurdi then thanked a long list of people for helping get her family to Canada.

She thanked NDP MP Fin Donnelly, NDP MLA Selina Robinson, Coquitlam mayor Richard Stewart and “our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for opening the door and showing the world how everyone should welcome and save lives.”

On behalf of her brother (and Alan's father) Abdullah, who has chosen not to come to Canada, she thanked the Turkish government and the Kurdistan government in the autonomous region of Iraq, where he is now living.

Kurdi also noted the “German people, who are opening the door to refugees.” Germany took in more than one million migrants in 2015, many of them from Syria.

Kurdi said her message to the refugees of the world is that “there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

“I walked through that tunnel,” she said. “I did not see that light yet, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end… keep walking until you find your light.”

Earlier in the day, Kurdi told CTV News Channel that while the tragedy involving her nephew has been very painful for the entire family, she hopes it serves as a reminder to the world of the plight of refugees fleeing violence.

"Even though the tragedy was very painful for us, it's opened the doors for others -- that's what counts," she said of Alan Kurdi's death. "I hope his death won't be in vain."

The three-year-old boy drowned in September along with his older brother and their mother while attempting to cross the waters between Turkey and Greece. Images of his lifeless body, face-down in the sand, helped show the world the plight of the hundreds of thousands who've fled Syria and Iraq for safety.

Alan Kurdi's father had attempted the dangerous water crossing after the Canadian government rejected his brother Mohammed's original refugee application. Canadian officials said the application didn't have the required documentation.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada later asked Tima Kurdi to re-apply for her brother, Mohammed Kurdi, and his family in mid-October.

Tima Kurdi said the entire family of seven will join her family of three in their Vancouver home. "We have enough room, and I did my best, me and my husband and my son. We made it nice and comfy," she said.

Tima Kurdi said after losing his wife and children, Abdullah Kurdi has devoted his life to helping other refugees.

Syrian refugees have been arriving in Canada on a frequent basis since the beginning of December. The Liberals have committed to taking in 25,000 refugees by the end of February, although they admit they will likely fall short of their revised target to settle 10,000 by the end of the year.

With files from The Canadian Press



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • FBI agent indicted over Oregon refuge standoff shooting

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, Ore. - An FBI agent has been indicted on accusations that he lied about firing at a rancher in 2016 when officers arrested leaders of an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon. Source
  • Trump administration plans border wall models in summer

    World News Toronto Sun
    SAN DIEGO - The agency in charge of U.S. border security plans to start building prototypes for President Donald Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico later this summer. Ronald Vitiello, Customs and Border Protection’s acting deputy commissioner, said Tuesday that four to eight companies will get contracts for prototypes in San Diego that could be models for the roughly 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometre) border. Source
  • Activists take step to recall judge in Brock Turner sex assault case

    World News CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO - Activists seeking to recall a judge who sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman say they believe voters will still support the effort even if it appears on the ballot two years after the trial. Source
  • Iran accuses U.S. of 'brazen' plan to change its government

    World News CTV News
    Iran is accusing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of "a brazen interventionist plan" to change the current government that violates international law and the UN Charter. Iran's UN Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres circulated Tuesday that Tillerson's comments are also "a flagrant violation" of the 1981 Algiers Accords in which the United States pledged "not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal…
  • Major security measures for Ottawa's Canada 150 bash amid ISIS threat

    Canada News CTV News
    More than 500,000 revelers are expected to flock to Parliament Hill Saturday to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, and heightened security will be in place across the capital to ensure the party goes off without a hitch. Source
  • One Hong Kong, two sentiments after 20 years of Chinese rule

    World News CTV News
    Hong Kong is planning a big party as it marks 20 years under Chinese rule. But many people in the former British colony are not in the mood to celebrate. Fireworks, a gala variety show and Chinese military displays are among the official events planned to coincide with a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping starting Thursday for the occasion. Source
  • Sarah Palin sues New York Times for defamation

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK - Former vice-presidential nominee and Alaska governor Sarah Palin is accusing The New York Times of defamation over an editorial that linked one of her political action committee ads to the mass shooting that severely wounded then-Arizona Congressman Gabby Giffords. Source
  • Venezuelan president claims helicopter fired on Supreme Court

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Nicolas Maduro said a helicopter fired on Venezuela's Supreme Court Tuesday in a confusing incident that he claimed was part of a conspiracy to destabilize his socialist government. An Associated Press reporter heard gunfire as a blue helicopter buzzed through downtown but was unable to confirm where the shots were being fired from. Source
  • Venezuelan officials claim helicopter fired on Supreme Court

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela - President Nicolas Maduro said a stolen police helicopter fired on Venezuela's Supreme Court Tuesday in what he called a thwarted "terrorist attack" aimed at ousting him from power. The confusing exchange, which is bound to ratchet up tensions in a country already paralyzed by months of deadly anti-government protests, took place as Maduro was speaking live on state television. Source
  • Canada 150: Port Stanley shawarma, via Israel and India

    Canada News CTV News
    Port Stanley, Ont., was perhaps the last place Doris and Gabriel Chordekar expected to find themselves. Eight years ago they were living in Tel Aviv, Israel. Before that they were in Mumbai, India. But wherever they lived, Doris and Gabriel Chordekar didn't feel safe raising their two daughters. Source