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Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi’s death drowning sparks surge of donations across Europe

Charities aiding refugees witnessed a surge in donations across Europe on Saturday as people shocked by the heart-rending images of a drowned Syrian boy three-year-old-drowned-syrian-boyon a Turkish beach dug deep to help.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, under pressure to act, said Britain would provide an extra US $100 million (137 million euros, US $153 million) in humanitarian aid for the Syrian crisis, bringing London’s total contribution to more than 1.0 billion pounds.

The International Olympic Committee launched an emergency two-million-euro (US $2.2 million) fund, as money flooded into the coffers of aid organisations helping those fleeing Iraq and Syria. The photos of the lifeless body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, dressed in blue shorts and a red T-shirt, washed up on a beach in Bodrum, Turkey, have triggered a wave of emotion across the continent, despite deep divisions among European governments about how to deal with the crisis.

“There is an enormous response from the public, the tide of indifference is shifting,” Christian Peregrin, spokesman for the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station, told AFP. The group, working to help migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean from Libya, had by Friday received a record 600,000 euros ($666,500) since Aylan’s photo went viral.

“Before that, 10,000 euros in a day would have been a good day,” he said. In the Netherlands, which has so far remained largely indifferent to the crisis, little Aylan’s tragic fate has “served as a massive catalyst” to mobilise donations, a worker at the Dutch Refugee Council told AFP. Aylan, his four-year-old brother Ghale  and their mother Rihana drowned off the Turkish coast on Wednesday while trying to reach Europe across the Aegean Sea and escape the four-year conflict in Syria.

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