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German rescue ship renamed in honour of drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi

German rescue ship renamed in honour of drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi
Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By Pascale Davies
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Images of the Syrian toddler washed up on the beach three years ago shook the world.


It's been more than three years since the world was shaken by the horrific image of three-year-old Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi's lifeless body being washed up face-down on a Turkish beach.

The picture was a stark warning about the dangers faced by migrants crossing the Mediterranean sea.

On Sunday, a German migrant rescue vessel has been renamed after the toddler in the presence of Kurdi's father and aunt on Spain's Balearic Island of Majorca.

"We are happy that a German rescue ship will carry the name of our boy. My boy on the beach must never be forgotten. Our grief for the loss of my wife and sons is shared by many, by thousands of families who have so tragically lost sons and daughters this way," Abdullah Kurdi said in a statement released by Sea-Eye.

Abdullah Kurdi decided to flee the Islamic State group and Syria's civil war in 2015 and paid smugglers to take him and his family from Turkey to Greece.

Two boats were carrying a total of 23 people, which set off from the Akyarlar area of the Bodrum peninsula. At least 12 people on board died, including five children and one woman.

The Mediterranean crossing has also been used by Africans trying to reach Europe via boat from Libya to Italy.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in 2018 2,297 migrants died or went missing in the Mediterranean while 116,959 people reached Europe by sea.

It also said in the first 16 days of 2019, migrant arrivals to Europe, almost all by sea, totalled 4,449, compared with 2,964 in the same period last year.

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