Refugee crisis continues 1 year on from Alan Kurdi's death

It's been one year since the body of 3-year old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi washed up on a beach, but the plight of refugees from Syria and all over the world continues.

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Paramilitary police officers investigate the scene before carrying the body of Alan Kurdi.

Updated Sep 3, 2016

One year ago today, heart-wrenching images of the lifeless body of Alan Kurdi, a three-year old Syrian boy whose body had washed up on a Turkish beach, shook the world.

The pictures, showing him lying face down on the beach, prompted calls for action to help refugees.

But, sadly, the latest figures released by International Organization for Migration (IOM) show that the situation has in fact deteriorated since Alan's body was found, with the number of refugees dying this year rising by more than a fifth compared to last year.

According to the IOM figures, 5700 people have lost their lives on refugee and migrants routes across the world since the death of Syrian boy whose family tried to reach Europe across Mediterranean. In the year preceding his death, 4664 people had died.

According to a calculation based on the above numbers, one migrant has died every 80 minutes so far in 2016.

The boy’s death drew people’s interest on Twitter, with four times more Tweets shared on the subject than in the year before, according to Oxfam, citing research by a social media lab at the University of Sheffield.

The hashtag "#refugeeswelcome" began making rounds worldwide following Alan Kurdi’s death. The hashtag appeared 2.35 million times on Twitter in the following year.

A similar response was seen when images of Omran Daqneesh, a Syrian boy who appeared covered in blood and dust after he was rescued from the rubble of a bombed apartment in Aleppo, made front pages all over the world.

New York is set to host two important summits on the migration crisis later in August. Although the initial response from many countries has not been very encouraging, such summits provide the opportunity to governments to extend assurances of help.

Alan’s father says little has changed since son’s death

The father of Alan Kurdi has said that little has changed in the year since his son’s death.

Abdullah Kurdi, a Syrian who now lives in Iraq, lost not only 3-year-old Alan but also another son, Galip, 5, as well as his wife Rihan, 35, one year ago on Friday.

Kurdi was quoted by Germany's Bild newspaper as saying this week that he's glad the photo of his son's body was published to "make clear to people what is happening" but he's upset that more hasn't been done for refugees since then.

Abdullah Kurdi, father of three-year old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi. (Reuters)

"Politicians said after the death of my family: never again!" he said.

"Everyone allegedly wanted to do something after the photos that had so moved them. But what is happening now? The dying goes on and nobody's doing anything."

Kurdi urged others contemplating the journey that he undertook with his family to rethink their plans.

"I'd like to say to the refugees in the refugee camps that they shouldn't make this journey," he said. "The danger is too great. It's not worth it."

His sister, Tima Kurdi, posted this week on her Facebook page that "we must never forget the price for freedom."

"Please keep [Alan] and all those who died for the chance of freedom from the shackles of war in our daily prayers," she wrote.

TRTWorld and agencies