'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

  • Israeli soldier who shot prone Palestinian assailant sentenced to 18 months

    World News CBC News
    An Israeli soldier who shot dead an incapacitated Palestinian assailant in the occupied West Bank was sentenced on Tuesday to 18 months in jail. A military court last month convicted Sgt. Elor Azaria of manslaughter, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment, over the March 2016 incident in the town of Hebron. Source
  • Trust in the media is sinking and it's time to act: Neil Macdonald

    World News CBC News
    If I were a public figure — a politician, a senior public servant, a judge, someone in the national security apparatus — I doubt I would speak to most reporters. Actually, if it were just me, going through some horrible personal episode that occasioned a local police reporter to call my home, I would likely hang up. Source
  • Sanctuary city movement grows in Canada, but are police on board?

    Canada News CBC News
    The uncertainty surrounding U.S. immigration policies has prompted a number of Canadian cities to declare themselves sanctuaries for undocumented migrants. But as cities move to protect migrants from deportation orders, it is creating the prospect for tensions between municipal governments, law enforcement and federal immigration officials. Source
  • Who are the MPs that vote against their party line most often?

    Canada News CBC News
    Members of Parliament might feel pressure to toe the party line and maintain party unity in the House of Commons. But a few MPs have stood out for their willingness to rise and vote "Yea" when the rest of their colleagues vote "Nay. Source
  • Raising Elaan

    Canada News CBC News
    Natasha Bakht, left, and Lynda Collins aren’t lovers, so according to law, they couldn’t both be mothers to the same profoundly disabled boy, Elaan. (Simon Gardner/CBC) Lynda Collins loves thinking back to the day Elaan was born. Source
  • No fixed address: How I became a 32-year-old couch surfer

    Canada News CBC News
    I'm 32 years old, work at my dream job and have an amazing circle of family and friends who love me. Life is pretty great. There's just one thing — and I can't believe I'm about to admit this you, but here goes. Source
  • 'I am a man with no land': African migrants wait in limbo, dreaming of sanctuary in Canada

    World News CBC News
    The threats against his life had been coming by phone for months. But it was only after two men armed with AK-47 assault rifles shot up the home he shared with his wife and young child that Abdikadir Ahmed Omar says he knew he would be forced to flee his home country of Somalia. Source
  • Bill ending N.S. teachers' contract dispute expected to pass today

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A government bill aimed at ending the 16-month long contract dispute involving Nova Scotia's 9,300 public school teachers is into the home stretch in the legislature. Introduced last Tuesday, Bill 75 is expected to become law once debate on third reading wraps up later today. Source
  • Overnight riots in predominantly immigrant Stockholm suburb

    World News CTV News
    COPENHAGEN -- Swedish police say riots broke out overnight in a predominantly immigrant Stockholm suburb after officers arrested a suspect on drug charges. Spokesman Lars Bystrom said Tuesday that unidentified people, including some wearing masks, threw rocks at police, set cars on fire and looted shops in Rinkeby. Source
  • Accused in Quebec City mosque shootings returns to court on murder charges

    Canada News CTV News
    QUEBEC - The man charged in last month's mosque shootings in Quebec City returns to court today on six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder using a restricted firearm. Alexandre Bissonnette faces the charges in the Jan. Source