The child, named as Aylan Kurdi, is one of the 11 Syrians feared to have drowned off the popular Turkish seaside resort of Bodrum.
The European refugee crisis reached a desperately new low Wednesday when photos emerged of a dead little Syrian boy washed up on a beach in Turkey, as British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to shut the UK’s borders to asylum seekers.
The child, named as Aylan Kurdi, is one of the 11 Syrians feared to have drowned off the popular Turkish seaside resort of Bodrum, in a failed effort to flee the extreme violence of their own country and reach safety.
It is believed that the boat was crossing the Mediterranean heading towards the Greek island of Kos before it ran into trouble.
The images, which depict the little boy lying face down in the shoreline and then being gently carried by an official, have provoked worldwide revulsion and calls for Europe to take drastic action on accepting more refugees from the war-torn country.
On Twitter, the hashtag #refugeeswelcome was trending, as social media users posted their devastation over the humanitarian crisis, many of whom shared the disturbing images to highlight the desperate situation.
“Loads of emotions in me now. Shock, sadness, anger, frustration – can’t sleep after seeing those images of that poor child,” wrote Ronan Hamill.
“Utterly ashamed of how toxically self-interested the UK government is. Absolutely disgusting lack of basic humanity,” said Sara Davidson.
Others pointed out the hypocrisy of Britain’s tabloid press, first reacting against the “immigration crisis,” pressuring the government to toughen its stance against refugees entering the country, and then, on seeing these photos, suddenly becoming humanitarian and demanding help for asylum seekers.
“Tabloids create public fever to the point the PM thinks it’s bad PR to help children, then play high horse in crisis,” said Tom Wilson.
Damien Owens posted, “I see that the British tabloids, having petrol-bombed the house, have posted a letter informing the fire brigade.”
Meanwhile, Cameron was also making headlines for stating that he had ruled out taking more Syrian refugees, claiming that it would not help solve the crisis. Cameron has come under fire for his “dehumanizing” language around refugees, referring to them as a “swarm.”
Elsewhere, Hungary is in the process of building a razor-wire fence to block off the 170 km border with Serbia, while Budapest blocked refugees from boarding trains to Germany for a second consecutive day. Refugees have been pulled off trains bound for Germany from Czech Republic, and the Netherlands has announced tougher rules.
Around 2,500 refugees have died in attempts to reach the safety of Europe.