The father of Alan Kurdi, a 3-year-old Syrian Kurdish refugee whose body washed up on a Turkish shore in 2015, hopes to join a German migrant rescue mission named after his son.
Abdullah Kurdi, 45, lost his wife Rehanna and their two sons, Ghalib and Alan, in a tragic incident on Sept. 2, 2015, after the family fled from Kobani in the Kurdistan of Syrian to Turkey.
The journey across the Mediterranean ended in tragedy after their boat sank offshore, killing 11 refugees, including Abdullah’s family.
Photos of Alan, wearing a red t-shirt, blue shorts, and black shoes, laying face-down as he washed up on shore caused international outrage. The international community then believed more should be done to protect migrants who undertake risky and dangerous journeys crossing the sea from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe.
On Feb. 10, 2019, a German migrant rescue ship was renamed after the 3-year-old.
Abdullah told Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Sunday that he wants to join the ship’s crew operated by German charity Sea-Eye.
“As soon as my son [is] born, I will go on the ship to save migrants,” Abdullah, who has since remarried, told the Italian newspaper. “I want to give them the help that I did not get.”
A spokesperson for Sea-Eye confirmed that the charity had spoken to Abdullah about joining the mission, Deutsche Welle reported.
“We have built a strong and emotional bond with the family,” spokesperson Gorden Isler stated. “If we succeed in fulfilling all organizational requirements, then we would be happy that Abdullah accompanies the ship.”
“He will then be part of the crew and also take over tasks,” Isler added.
The ship, named “Alan Kurdi,” is currently docked at a port in Spain. The charity does not have sufficient funds for further rescue missions, but hopes to resume by Oct. 12, Deutsche Welle said.
Sea-Eye has saved over 14,000 people from drowning in the Mediterranean in more than 60 missions since it began operating in 2016.
Abdullah currently lives in the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil where he operates a charity that helps children in refugee camps.