EU refugee crisis: Image of Syrian toddler sparks global outrage

The crisis has come under scrutiny after the image of a Syrian toddler's body on a Turkish beach emerged.

Abdullah Kurdi, father of three-year old Aylan Kurdi, waits at the morgue in Mugla, southern Turkey, on September 3, 2015, after a boat carrying refugees sank trying to reach the Greek island of Kos. Picture: AFP.


JOHANNESBURG - The image of a Syrian toddler washed up on a Turkish beach has sparked global debate on the refugee crisis sweeping Europe, with pressure mounting on leaders to develop a coherent response to prevent further deaths.

The photograph of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi lying face down in the surf has gone viral, sparking outrage, condemnation and calls for a solution to a desperate situation.

The body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi off the shores in Bodrum, southern Turkey, on 2 September 2015 after a boat carrying refugees sank while reaching the Greek island of Kos. Picture: Nilufer Demir/Dogan News Agency/AFP.

Kurdi was among a group of refugees who died when the boat they were travelling in capsized en route to Greece.

His older brother and his mother also died in the tragedy, one of many in recent weeks.

Kurdi's father has described how his children slipped out of his hands and how he did everything in his power to save them.

He says all he wants to do now is bury his family and sit beside their graves until the day he dies.

His sister has also spoken out about the tragedy.

"He look around for his wife, she was floating in the water, it's like a balloon. He said you should see how she looked like. He said I did my all, my power to save them but I couldn't."

A Turkish police officer carries three-year-old Aylan Kurdi's body off the shores in Bodrum, southern Turkey, on 2 September 2015. Picture: Nilufer Demir/Dogan News Agency/AFP.

Outside a Budapest train station, an angry crowd camped out demanding to board trains for Germany, as Europe's asylum system crumbled under the strain of the influx.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing wars, as well as economic migrants escaping poverty, have arrived in the European Union, confounding EU leaders and feeding the rise of right wing populists.

Thousands have drowned in the Mediterranean and many others have died travelling over land, including 71 people found in the back of an abandoned truck in Austria last week.

The EU's executive European Commission promised to unveil a new policy next week to make it easier to process asylum claims, send those from safe countries home and distribute bona fide refugees among the bloc's 28 members.


In the face of the escalating refugee crisis in Europe and calls for action and sympathy from leaders, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban says he does not want any more Muslims in his country.

Speaking outside the EU headquarters Orban said, "If we would create an imagination or an impression that just come because we're ready to accept everybody that would be a moral failure because this is not the case. So the moral human thing is to make it clear, please don't come."

He also said those fleeing conflict in countries such as Syria should not risk their lives as they will not be guaranteed entry into the EU.