Families of those on board recall the heartbreaking farewells they shared as hopes of finding any more survivors vanish.

By Moira Lavelle and Vedat Yeler

*First Published on Al Jazeera

Naeem Afridi last spoke to his brother, Hameedullah, on June 12 as he was travelling on a boat from Libya headed to Europe.

“Hameedullah told me ‘Don’t worry. I’m just eight or nine hours away from Europe’,” Naeem told Al Jazeera. “And he told me that when he arrived he would contact me.”

When Naeem read the news about the shipwreck off Greece’s Pylos, “I felt like my soul was going away”, he said.

He spent days trying to find information about his brother’s whereabouts.

He has received no official confirmation, but believes that Hameedullah and his three-year-old son Afaq Ahmed are among hundreds feared dead.

Naeem said Hameedullah left Pakistan with Afaq, hoping of building a safer, more stable future.

His wife had been killed a year earlier, and he feared for his son’s life.

“In Pakistan, you have to leave the country for so many reasons. There is no rule of law,” said Naeem.

The brothers had discussed many options, but felt that a boat to Europe was the only option.

“I have read that 385 people from Pakistan died,” said Naeem. “But it’s not just that 385 people died, it’s 385 families that are completely devastated and hopeless.”

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