UNHCR's Melissa Fleming tells Syrian refugee's powerful story of survival

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Melissa Fleming signs a copy of her book “A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea,” following its presentation at the UN Bookshop at UN Headquarters in New York. Photo: UN/DPI

A young Syrian refugee woman's remarkable story of surviving "one of the worst shipwrecks in the Mediterranean" has been told in a book written by the chief spokesperson for the UN refugee agency.

Melissa Fleming recently presented 'A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea' at UN Headquarters in New York.

Although she has heard many stories of resilience over the course of her career, Doaa Al Zamel's story haunted her, Ms Fleming said.

She was among 11 people who survived when a boat carrying 500 people sunk at sea back in 2014.

Doaa and her fiancé had boarded from Egypt, where she lived with her family. She watched him drown along with hundreds of other passengers.

A record 65 million people are displaced worldwide, mainly driven by the Syrian war and other protracted conflicts, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Melissa Fleming said she hoped people who read the book will start caring and understanding why refugees risk their lives to come to their countries.

Ana Carmo began by asking her why Doaa's story kept her awake.

Duration: 9’05″

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