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Grieving Melbourne mother denied eight times to go to Adelaide and bury her daughter

A heartbroken Melbourne mother whose young daughter tragically died last month is spending everyday in agony after being denied an exemption to go to South Australia to bury her eight times.

Elizabeth Dau’s 22-year-old daughter, Margaret Akima Garang, died on July 31 during a trip to Adelaide.

The aspiring lawyer developed acute liver failure in mid-July and was admitted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital before she passed away.

Ms Dau, a Sudanese refugee, has since been working tirelessly to leave coronavirus-riddled Melbourne to travel to Adelaide and finally lay her daughter to rest.

‘I just want to bury my daughter. How can I sleep? My daughter is just laying in a freezer in an office like someone who doesn’t have parents,’ she told SBS News.   

Ms Dau, 47, and her family, who moved from Sudan in 2004, had already been through hell after spending seven years in a refugee camp before travelling to Melbourne.

Her husband died after suffering an infection from gunshot wounds he sustained while fighting in the Sudanese Civil War, leaving Ms Dau to raise her three children alone. 

Margaret had travelled to Adelaide to visit friends before starting a law degree, but ended up staying for several months due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

When she fell ill, her older sister Ayen, 29, received an exemption to travel and visit her but Margaret tragically died just hours before she arrived.

Ms Dau was initially told by police she could travel to the border where she could apply for a temporary exemption – but was later turned away.

Along with her two children and two grandkids, she flew to Adelaide where they were then taken to a hotel.

But the following morning police arrived and took her back to the airport to fly home to Melbourne.

Ms Dau has since applied a further eight times for an exemption, supplying SA Health with doctors certificates and negative coronavirus test results.

Each time she has been denied.

‘They say there is a lot of people who are on the waiting list for an exemption [to travel], but why am I waiting so long, why don’t they let me put my daughter in the ground so my daughter can rest?’ she said.

Ms Dau’s cousin Michael has been contacting the SA government on her behalf as she cannot read or write in English.

He said with every denied application, the family were not given a sufficient reason.

‘It’s really been hard for us, with COVID 19 now no one can visit. Elizabeth is alone with the kids, she’s very lonely. She calls me at night and I try to counsel her,’ he said.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted SA Health for comment. 

South Australia closed its border to Victoria at the start of July, only permitting essential travellers and residents. 

It came after Victoria saw a huge jump in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

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