Ankara: A number of Syrian refugees on their way to Greek Islands have drowned and were washed ashore on a beach in the Turkish resort town of Bodrum on Wednesday.
Photos were taken as the Turkish police officers carried the bodies away, a particular image of a young boy lying face down on the sand spread quickly online, sending shock waves across the global community.
According to Reuters, the confirmed dead included five children and one woman. Seven people were rescued and two reached the shore in life jackets.
Washington Post reported that the scale of the Syrian refugee crisis is hard to grasp, about 11 million people (half of Syria's population) have either died or fled their homes since the Syrian conflict began in 2011. About 4 million of which have been forced out of the country.
The Turkish Army stated that search and rescue teams had saved hundreds of migrants in the seas between Turkey and Greek islands over the last few days, noting that tens of thousands of Syrians are fleeing the war in their homeland through Turkey's Aegean coast in an attempt to reach Greece.
Aid agencies estimate that over the past month, about 2,000 people a day have been making the short crossing to Greece's eastern islands on rubber boats.
In a related context, UN Under Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs said on Tuesday that aid agencies have only received one third of the funding needed for the Syria Response Plan and the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan. He noted that the combined plans call for $7.42 billion, of which only $2.38 billion has been received, forcing aid agencies to scale back.
The Undersecretary pointed out that the short funded World Food Program has already scaled back food aid by one fifth, and food vouchers by as much as half for some displaced communities, and will have to further reduce its food aid and cash assistance.