Migrant Rescue Charity Gets $1 Million In Donations After Viral Photo

Two days after a photo of a deceased Syrian boy caused global outrage, one charity has received 10,000 donations

Afghan migrants gesture as they hold onto a compatriot at the side of an overcrowded dinghy, upon arriving at a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast September 23, 2015. The migrants turned back to save the man who had fallen into the water about 500 metres (1,640 ft.) from the shore. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis - RTX1S0P4 — REUTERS
Sep 04, 2015 at 12:12 PM ET

The now infamous photograph of the body of three-year-old Syrian Aylan Kurdi appears to have sparked a global outpouring of support as one humanitarian organization received almost $1 million dollars in donations in just 48 hours.

Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), a search and rescue charity operating in the Mediterranean Sea, told Vocativ it has received more than $890,000 since the image of the lifeless toddler lying face-down on a Turkish beach went viral on Wednesday. A spokesman for the organisation told the AFP that under normal circumstances, €10,000 ($11,100 approx)in donations “would have been a good day.”

The charity currently spends over $550,000 per month operating one vessel for six months of the year. MOAS director Martin Xuereb said the vessel has been used to save more than 11,000 lives so far since it launched in August 2014.

Xuereb, who claimed MOAS spends “well over 90 percent” of its funds to save lives, said donations have poured in from over 10,000 individuals worldwide, particularly from the U.S., the U.K., Turkey and Germany.

“We may be able to expand our mission’s reach to other parts of the Mediterranean and beyond. Our long-term vision is to have multiple vessels out there all mitigating the loss of life all year round,” said Xuereb.

Discussion using the hashtag #SyrianRefugees soared on Twitter this week, rising from 5,000 daily mentions to nearly 50,000 daily mentions since Wednesday, according to Topsy, as many users asked what they could do to help the more than 300,000 migrants who have fled Syria so far this year. And bloggers and websites have answered.