Aylan Kurdi’s, a Syrian Refugee, body washed up on the beach today in Bodram, Turkey. He was only 3 years old. The toddler died along with his brother Ghalib (5 years old) and mother Rehan, while their father survived. The family was trying to get to Canada, despite their refugee status immigration being denied.
More than 300,000 refugees and migrants attempting to reach Europe have crossed the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, according to the UN Refugee Agency. Most of them have arrived in Greece, a country that is in the midst of an economic crisis itself.
Like Aylan, many children and their families never make it: some 2,500 people have died or gone missing during risky journeys.
There are now 4 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Some are now living in desperate conditions in Hungary, from which they hope to enter the European Union.
It’s too late to help Aylan, but you can help other children like him. Here’s how:
The UN Refugee Agency: Provides cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothing.
Save the Children: Supplies food for Syrian kids and supports education in Syrian refugee camps.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders: MSF is operating three rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea that can carry hundreds of people to land.
Unicef: Delivers vaccines, winter clothes and food for children in Syria and neighboring countries. The agency is working to immunize more than 22 million children in the region following a polio outbreak.
International Rescue Committee: The group’s emergency team is in Greece, where nearly 1,000 people are arriving per day.
World Food Programme: The World Food Programme is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. It is struggling to provide food for Syrian refugees.
Mercy Corps: Mercy Corps is an American aid agency engaged in transitional environments that have experienced some sort of shock: natural disaster, economic collapse, or conflict.
As an educator, my heart bleeds for these children and all other children around the world affected by conflicts, natural disasters, economic collapses and turmoil. Let this year’s federal elections in Canada mark a change to help put this growing global problem to a rest.