2-Year-Old Toddler Named 2016's First Victim Of The Refugee Crisis
As Europe continues to contend with the worst refugee crisis since World War II, another refugee child died attempting to make the dangerous journey from Turkey to Greece.
The child, a 2-year-old boy who remains unnamed, drowned off the coast of the Greek island of Agathonisi.
The boat he was traveling in, carrying 40 passengers including him, reportedly capsized. The charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) rescued the 39 other passengers.
This boy is the first known refugee casualty of 2016, the Independent reports.
His death is tragically reminiscent of the drowning of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who washed up on a Turkish beach in September. A heartbreaking image of Aylan's lifeless body went viral, fostering global sympathy for the plight of refugees.
Many of these sentiments dissipated since that time, and many people now view refugees with suspicion, largely due to the Paris terror attacks.
Ongoing conflicts in places like Syria forced millions to flee their countries in search of some semblance of safety and stability.
Most Syrian refugees reside in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, but some, among refugees and migrants from other countries, attempted to make their way to Europe.
According to the International Organization for Migration, over one million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2015.
Over 1 million sea arrivals reach Europe in 2015: https://t.co/eSeEHtBRwr pic.twitter.com/oYWTlXK0kG — UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) January 3, 2016
The organization estimated over 3,770 died trying to make this perilous journey over the course of the year.
As we all cross into 2016, the death of this unnamed toddler stands as a heartbreaking reminder this refugee crisis is far from over.