How a woman and her migrant brother were reunited

"We know he is here. He called me to say he is here, but after that we haven't received any more information about him."

On November 7th, Sarah Bettache received a shocking phone call from her brother Ahmed. He had left Morocco and was on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria.

He had left his native country for the Canary Islands two days earlier - braving a dangerous, 60 mile journey on a rickety boat to get there.

Like a record number of other migrants this year, he was seeking a better future in Europe.

Bettache had no idea of his drastic plans - and neither did the rest of his family.

"I spoke to my brother the first day that he arrived. He contacted us by phone and told us that he had arrived here, in Las Palmas. He had charged his phone so he sent photos of the documents that we needed to give to the police here. So I had to leave my family, my baby and my job to come here and pick him up."

Bettache traveled from France, where she has citizenship, to Gran Canaria -- and began a frantic search to find him.

She was told it would be impossible, and their mother became so fraught that she was hospitalized.

"We had no information about him, we didn't know if he was dead or alive, if he was ok or not. All the worst thoughts passed through our heads."

But finally an official from the Red Cross was able to locate Ahmed, aided by a picture Bettache gave her.

He was being held in a dockside camp for migrants.

On Monday night, Bettache was able to see her brother - but only from 100 meters away.

The facility was set up months ago to cope with a rise in the number of migrants landing there - designed as a holding camp before they were moved on.

But it soon became overcrowded.

Some migrants were forced to sleep in the open as the island struggled to cope.

"You can't even imagine, I can't explain how I felt in words. My heart was beating fast, I had tears in my eyes, I didn't know what to do, if to take a video for my mother, take him in my arms. I wanted to touch him, embrace him, but he was too far. Him as well, poor him, he was reaching out to me."

Ahmed was released from the camp on Tuesday, and the pair stayed at an apartment Bettache had rented.

They hope to head to mainland Europe together - though Ahmed may struggle to travel if he does not have the correct documents.

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