The image was just as unsettling as it was unforgettable. A toddler’s body lay face down on the sandy shores of the Mediterranean Sea. His small frame slumped lifeless in the arms of authorities who whisked him away, his bright red shirt inched up exposing parts of his belly, the Velcro straps undone on his shoes.
Three-year-old Alan Kurdi embodied the human tragedy and desperation of the thousands who came pouring out of war-torn Syria in search of refuge. Now, one year after Kurdi drowned off the shore of the Greek island of Kos, the suffering continues.
The United Nations has identified 13.5 million Syrians in desperate need of humanitarian assistance since violence first took hold of their country. Oxfam reported that, since Kurdi's body was found on that beach, 5,700 more people have died as a result of the crisis — an increase from a year ago.
"The numbers of people who have died on refugee and migrant routes since the start of 2016 equates to one almost every 80 minutes," Oxfam said in a statement.
Lost in the chaos are the innocent lives and childhoods of an entire generation that has lived through it. With each day comes more images of the young casualties of war, like that of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh as he sat in the back of an ambulance, his face bloodied and body covered from head to toe in dust and rubble, his shell-shocked expression capturing what many others around the world are thinking: How could this be happening?