A seven-year-old Afghan boy has saved the lives of 15 suffocating refugees trapped in a locked truck in Britain by sending a text message for help.
The boy, named Ahmed, used a cell phone given to him by British aid worker Inca Sorrell in France’s notorious Calais refugee camp to inform her that they were running out of oxygen inside the London-bound truck on Thursday morning.
Ahmed wrote in broken English, “I ned halp darivar no stap car no oksijan in the car no sagnal iam in the cantenar. Iam no jokan valla,” trying to say, “I need help. The driver won’t stop the car. No oxygen in the car. No signal. I’m in a container. I am not joking. I swear to God.”
Sorrell was participating in a conference in New York when she received the message.
“He told me that he was stuck in the back of the lorry and the driver wouldn’t stop, …and he had no way of getting out,” Sorrell said.
She, then, contacted her colleague in London, Tanya Freedman, who called the police. Security forces traced the phone, stopped the truck in Leicestershire in central England and took out all the people inside.
A police spokeswoman said 14 people were detained on suspicion of being illegal asylum seekers, adding that one man was arrested on suspicion of trafficking them into Britain, while “safeguarding measures were put in place for a child who was found in the truck.”
Reports say 4,946 refugees are living in the Calais camp, known as the Jungle due to the appalling living conditions of asylum seekers there. Some 1,400 of those inside the camp reside in the shipping containers set up by the French government.
French officials started demolishing the southern part of Calais refugee camp at the end of February, and forcibly evicting thousands of people from the site using tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon. The dismantling of the camp’s southern part ended on March 16.
Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees who are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East.
Many blame major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in those regions, forcing more people to flee their homes.