How to help Syrian children” A photo of a drowned boy on a tourist beach in Turkey has awakened the world to the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe, and nonprofits and advocates are urging concerned supporters to help protect other children.

As families prepare for the back-to-school rush here in North America, Turkish police are carrying dead Syrian children from the shore.

This is the desperate reality of Europe’s spiralling migrant crisis.

Five children were among 12 refugees who drowned after migrant boats sank while trying to reach Greece last night.

After the image emerged, the hashtag #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik (humanity washed ashore) became a trending topic on Twitter, Reuters reported.

According to The Independent, it’s believed the boy is Syrian and was among a group of refugees who had departed in a boat bound for the Greek island of Kos — a hub for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

The boy, whose body hung like a doll in the rescue worker’s arms as he carried him away from the waterline, was one of 12 refugees believed to have drowned in the waters of the Aegean sea early Wednesday.

Reuters reported there were two separate boats, carrying 23 passengers between them, that set out overnight from an area of the Bodrum peninsula called Akyarlar. Both boats ran into trouble and capsized.

A Turkish police officer carries a young boy who drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos. Photograph: Reuters

A Turkish police officer carries a young boy who drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos. Photograph: Reuters

According to Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency, 11 of the drowning victims were found near the first boat, while the body of another child was floating near a dinghy in the water. Anadolu reported search crews were able to save three people, but two others were missing.

There are more than 4 million Syrian refugees fleeing a brutal civil war and the threat of atrocities carried out by the militant group ISIS. They have fled to neighbouring countries — including more than 1 million in Turkey.

It’s too late to help Aylan, but you can help other children like him by donating to these charities:

The UN Refugee Agency: Provides cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothing.

Save the Children: Supplies food for Syrian kids and supports education in Syrian refugee camps.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders: MSF is operating three rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea that can carry hundreds of people to land.

Unicef: Delivers vaccines, winter clothes and food for children in Syria and neighboring countries. The agency is working to immunize more than 22 million children in the region following a polio outbreak.

International Rescue Committee: The group’s emergency team is in Greece, where nearly 1,000 people are arriving per day.

World Food Programme: The agency says it is struggling to meet the urgent food needs of millions of displaced Syrians.

Mercy Corps: Refugees are most in need of clean water, sanitation services, temporary shelter and food, the agency says.