We have forgotten them: Family’s plea for refugees, a year on from Alan’s death

Images of his tiny body washed up on the beach sparked a global outcry over the plight of millions of refugees. But a year after three-year-old Alan Kurdi drowned alongside his mother Rehana and brother Galib, five, his relatives say little has changed. His father, Abdullah, who now lives in Iraq, said he was glad the photo of his son’s body on a beach Turkish was published to “make clear to people what is happening” but was angry that more hadn’t been done for refugees since. Alan’s aunt, Tima Kurdi, who lives in Canada, told British TV: “At first the world was anxious to help the refugees but this did not even last a month. In fact the situation got worse, the war escalated and more people are leaving.”

Why we are closing our eyes on them? Why we cannot help them? This has been continuing for the last six years. We can’t watch, people are dying every single day. Children, they are innocent kids

Tima Kurdi

Pictures of the three-year-old refugee, who died when an inflatable boat carrying his family from Syria capsized in the Mediterranean, made headlines across the world. But his father told a German newspaper: “Everyone allegedly wanted to do something after the photos that had so moved them. But what is happening now? The dying goes on and nobody’s doing anything.” In Britain, the anniversary was marked by calls from activists and celebrities for the government to do more to help lone refugee children in Europe. Actress Juliet Stevenson said she had interviewed Syrian children in one refugee camp. “The Syrian children had escaped war and barrel-bombs and chemical gassing and many of them had lost their families,” she said “Those children had despair in their eyes.”

I’d like to say to the refugees in the refugee camps that they shouldn’t make this journey. The danger is too great. It’s not worth it.

Abdullah Kurdi