Family members of Alan Kurdi, the drowned three-year-old Syrian boy who made headlines around the world, will be arriving at Vancouver International Airport late this morning.
Those arriving to Canada today are Mohammed Kurdi, the brother of Abdullah – the father of the boy who drowned in an overcrowded boat between Turkey and Greece. Those joining Mohammed’s arrival are his wife and five children, who have all acquired refugee status from the federal government.
The family was initially rejected from arriving to Canada as refugees because they lacked a mandatory United Nations refugee referral in their application, which is no longer required under the Liberal government. The rejection led to the deadly boat trip that killed Abdullah’s wife and two young children.
At the airport today, the family reunion with sister Tima Kurdi, a Coquitlam resident who sponsored their initial application, is expected to be highly emotional given what the family has been through over the past year. The family has been split for over half a year: Mohammed has been residing in Germany while his family members are in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Abdullah has taken residency in northern Iraq and has refused Canadian government invitations to come to Canada.
Photos of Alan’s lifeless body became highly symbolic and reversed Canadian and global attitudes on the refugee crisis. A surge in support for refugees followed after the photos surfaced.