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"When we were boarding my son said 'Dad I have prayed that we reach to other side safely'. In a matter of seconds I lost everything I had."
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Mohammed Nowrouz Noori is an Afghan man in his late 30s but he is already a broken man.

In January this year he set off with his wife Nilufar, son Mohammad and baby daughter Nastaran from the Turkish coast heading for Greece.

"When we were boarding my son said 'Dad I have prayed that we reach to other side safely'," Nowrouz says as he recounts the tragedy at the family home back in Kabul.

"We could see lights from Greece. I reassured him, saying 'tonight is the last night of our troubles'."

But the boat arranged by people smugglers soon got into trouble and capsized.

"In a matter of seconds water was everywhere, filling the boat. It was dark. I lost my children and my wife who had been sitting next to me," Nowrouz says.

At least 39 migrants, including several children drowned that day. Nowrouz was among more than 60 rescued,

What came next was a 12-day struggle to recover the bodies of his loved ones and bring them home for burial.

Nowrouz says he received medical treatment in a camp on the Turkish coast where police showed him photos of bodies which had been recovered.

"I saw my family's pictures there," he says. "I saw the photo of my one-year-old daughter, my six-year-old son and my wife who was 25. I lost them."

A police officer asked whether Nowrouz intended to bury his family in Turkey or take them home. After phoning relatives he decided the family should be buried in Kabul.

The next day a minibus took Nowrouz and other survivors to Istanbul where he turned to the Afghan consulate for help.

"They said that I have to repatriate the bodies myself," he says.

Nowrouz spent days calling relatives back home. "I had to borrow money to repatriate my family back to Afghanistan," he says.

But once in his country, he could find only the bodies of his wife and son; his baby daughter was missing. With flights arranged he had little choice but to leave her behind to be buried in one of Bursa's cemeteries.

"I wanted to bring my daughter's body to Afghanistan too", Nowrouz says, "but because the whole process took so long I couldn't find her."

Compounding the heartbreak of losing his family, he now has debts to worry about as well.

Having borrowed $8,500 to cover the costs of the ordeal, Nowrouz has been left bankrupt by a journey that already cost him everything.


By Firuz Rahimi, BBC World Service

Read the full story Last journey: the migrant who lost everything.

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