The drowned toddler seen lying on a Turkish beach in a photo that sparked shock around the world on Thursday has been identified as three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, whose five-year-old brother Galip and mother Rehan also died when their boat capsized.
"If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?" Britain's Independent said in remarks echoed in newspapers across Europe.
The Sun, which caused an outcry earlier this year when it published a column comparing migrants to "cockroaches", used its front page to urge Prime Minister David Cameron to act.
"It's life and death," read the front page. "Today The Sun urges David Cameron to help those in a life-and-death struggle not of their own making."
This summer, a quarter of a million people fled across the Mediterranean by small ships and rafts. Lured by smugglers and forced onto discarded fishing boats, the migrants were directed to head north and call for help when they were past Libya's Bouri oil fields and into international shipping lanes.
Citizens of Syria, Eritrea, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Gambia, Somalia, Bangladesh and dozens of other countries simply hope they won't die as they head north in the dark. Some families buy pool floats to keep their children alive, some pay extra to sit on top, while others are crushed below, used as human ballast.
For those who can't afford passage on the Egyptian or Tunisian-sourced fishing boats, there are homemade rubber rafts.
Plywood floors often cut through the rubberized canvas, dumping the passengers into the ocean a few miles from shore. The migrants subject themselves to this life-threatening journey because there is no safe way out of their predicament.
They risk their lives at sea and they know they will also run the gauntlet of angry southern European nations if they do make it to land.
Tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland have descended on Turkey's Aegean coast this summer to board boats to Greece, their gateway to the European Union.
An official said almost 100 people in all had been rescued by Turkish vessels overnight as they tried to reach Greek island of Kos.
Aid agencies estimate that, over the past month, about 2,000 people a day have been making the short crossing to Greece's eastern islands on rubber dinghies.
So far this year, more than 2,500 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean, the UNHCR said.
The escalating migrant crisis has exposed deep divisions in the EU's policy, sparking friction between transit nations where the migrants arrive by sea or land and those where they hope to seek asylum, mainly in northern and western Europe.
(With inputs from AFP and Reuters)
Read:Images of drowned Syrian child spark horror over Europe migrant crisis