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Refugee Crisis Still Growing One Year After Tragic Photo

Image: Aylan Kurdi
A Turkish police officer carries the lifeless body of Alan Shenu in Bodrum, southern Turkey, after a boat carrying refugees sank while reaching the Greek island of Kos. NILUFER DEMIR / AFP - Getty Images

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.

Image: A Turkish police officer stands next to a migrant child's dead body
A Turkish police officer stands next to the body of Alan Kurdi off the shores in Bodrum, southern Turkey, after a boat carrying refugees sank while reaching the Greek island of Kos on Sept. 2, 2015. NILUFER DEMIR / Dogan News via AFP - Getty Images

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?

Image: Abdullah Kurdi, father of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi
Abdullah Kurdi, father of Alan Kurdi, stands in front of his neighbor's house in Kobani, Syria. As reported by the German newspaper Bild, Kurdi lamented a year later that the deaths at sea "continue" and "no one does anything." YASIN AKGUL / AFP - Getty Images

Gallery - Sad Homecoming: Drowned Migrant Boy Buried in Syria