A picture of a 16-month-old Rohingya boy- face down in the mud, washed up dead on the bank of a river- widely circulated in the social media echoed the iconic image of Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian refugee who was found on the Turkish coast after drowning into the Mediterranean Sea.
Mohammed Sheyat died while trying to escape from Myanmar to go to Bangladesh, along with his mother, uncle and brother, CNN reported.
“When I see the picture, I feel like I would rather die,” the boy’s father, Zafar Alam was quoted by CNN as saying.
“There is no point in me living in this world,” he added.
Zafar Alam became separated from his family during the journey to escape violence and made it to the Naf River which runs between Myanmar and Bangladesh. He was picked up by Bangladeshi fishermen who took him across the border, he told CNN.
Then he started the process to get his family across to safety. He contacted a boatman and asked him to help his wife and sons so that they could cross the river.
On December 4, Alam’s family tried to make their escape, but the boat was overloaded and sank. The next day, he was told about his family’s death, and someone sent the picture of his son to his phone, he told the news channel.
Myanmar’s 1.1 million Rohingya people are considered as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh by many people in the Buddhist-majority country.
An estimated 27,000 Rohingya from Myanmar have fled to Bangladesh to escape the violence that has massacred many people and displaced about 30,000 people.
According to a report by the International Organization for Migration, an average of 20 refugees died each day while seeking asylum in foreign countries.