Migrant crisis: Incredible story of 105-yr-old Afghan refugee | The Daily Star
08:20 PM, October 29, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:28 PM, October 29, 2015

105-year-old refugee traveled 20 days on foot to make it to Europe

The migrants taking refuge in Europe have extraordinary stories to tell. One of the most fascinating is the tale of 105 year old Bibihal Uzbeki, who traveled 20 days to reach Croatia from Afghanistan — mostly on foot.

Her 67-year old son, Muhamet Uvla, was traveling with Uzbeki along with 15 other family members, reports Mashable.

"My legs hurt, but I'm fine," Uzbeki said in Farsi, speaking through a translator while sitting on the floor inside a Red Cross tent at the Opatovac camp in Croatia on Monday. Her age was confirmed by the Croatian police based on her documents, according to local reports on Tuesday.

She says the toughest part of the trip was in the mountains of Iran, where they had to walk on foot. Her son and grandson often had to carry her on their backs.

The reasons for her departure are sadly similar to many of the other refugees' stories: Two of her sons died in Afghanistan.

"We all want and wish for a better future," she told Croatian media outlet 24sata.hr. "I may not live to see it, but I can't let my children, grandsons and grand-grandsons don't achieve it."

Their stay in Croatia was short; they soon boarded a train taking them further west, toward Slovenia. They are ultimately aiming to end up in Sweden, where Uzbeki's grandchildren live.

Thousands of Afghans like Uzbeki are also making their way across Europe. On Wednesday, however, 

Germany's Internior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that many arriving in the country will likely be sent back to their homeland.

Germany wants citizens to stay and help rebuild the country, de Maiziere said, as Germany and other western nations are pouring millions in developmental aid into Afghanistan and sending troops and police to help train security forces there. This is despite the ongoing conflict with the Taliban in the country's north, including Kunduz, where Uzbeki's family is from

Uzbeki and her family are among the 260,000-plus people who have passed through Croatia since Sept. 15, when Hungary closed its border with Serbia, diverting the flow of refugees to Croatia. The Balkan nation is struggling to process those who do arrive, en route to a new life in western Europe.

A month later, Hungary closed its border with Croatia; in turn, the country began sending migrants north to Slovenia instead.

Since then, more than 86,000 people have crossed into Slovenia, and the country is struggling to deal with the sudden influx. Prime Minister Miro Cerar says his country is prepared to build a fence "immediately" on its border with Croatia if the EU doesn't help ease the flow of refugees and migrants into the country.

EU and Balkan leaders agreed at a weekend summit to stem the massive migrant surge by introducing tighter border controls.


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