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Why are many Iraqis buying life jackets?

Akshay Tarfe




Thousands of Iraqi citizens are fleeing from their war torn country and their most preferred destination for the time is Europe. The invasion of Iraq by the United States and later the attacks of by an extremist group Islamic state has displaced millions. Travelling to Europe requires dangerous boat journey in the Mediterranean Sea where smugglers take the refugees towards the Greek islands.

This is the main reason behind the sudden increased demand for life jackets in Iraq. The orange jackets with a whistle attached are much cheaper in the sports shop of any Iraqi city than countries like Turkey.

The smugglers are not bothered about passenger safety.

The same sea route has claimed more than 2,800 lives this year due to lack of safety gears.

Recently a photo of Aylan Kurdi’s dead body, a Syrian toddler on a Turkish beach broke the internet and attracted global attention to the refugee crisis in Europe. The International Organisation for Migration’s data suggest that around 9,000 Iraqis successfully managed to reach the coast of Greece between January and August this year.


Buying a life jacket for a trip to Europe in the near future is becoming common in Iraq. Sports shop owners are saying that the demand for jackets has been highest in the last three decades. The real problem is that these jackets are not designed for deep sea journey but that doesn’t stop anyone from buying it. Some are even practising swimming to prevent own self from drowning in the depths of the Tigris River

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