As winter set in, many predicted that the refugee influx would decrease, but more migrants have arrived on Turkish beaches, according to media reports. They race to join more than 800,000 people who reached Europe via the Aegean Sea last year, clinging to their hopes of survival with life vests and dinghies, which often turn out not to be seaworthy. Sadly, life vests do not provide the protection they hoped for, as was made evident on Tuesday – almost all migrants whose bodies washed ashore were wearing life vests.
The images of bodies lying on the beaches were reminiscent of another tragedy last year that killed a 3-year-old Syrian boy named Aylan Kurdi and triggered an emotional response across the world, which forced Europe to reconsider its restrictions on migrants. Kurdi's lifeless body was found lying face down on the beach in the southern district of Bodrum last September, quickly becoming a symbol of the plight of migrants risking everything to reach the European shores – although he was neither the first nor the last child to drown in the Aegean Sea. A 2-year-old boy was the first known child casualty among migrants this year after his body was found on Saturday following the crash of a dinghy into rocks off a Greek island as he and others struggled to reach Greece from Turkey.