THE Gwent community have rallied around to support those engulfed by the refugee crisis after shocking photos emerged of the body of a Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach.

The child - seen lying face down on the shore - was reported to be one of a group of at least 12 people who drowned when their flimsy boats collapsed as they headed for the Greek island of Kos.

On Wednesday, he was named in Turkish media reports as three-year-old Aylan Kurdi who fled last year with his family from the besieged town of Kobane to escape the advance of Islamic State militants.

Having been distressed by what he saw, Llantarnam councillor David Daniels decided to set up a Facebook group, Torfaen aid for refugees, on Thursday to organise a collection today Building Blocks Nursery in Cwmbran at 10am-12pm.

The group already has 340 members, with donations of warm clothes, bedding, food, waterproof gear, tents and everyday toiletries to be collected over the weekend.

Councillor Daniels said: “It’s really overwhelming. I’ve been overwhelmed by how generous people have been. I have spent so much time just answering people’s queries.

“I’m a bit daunted by the whole thing but I’m sure we’ll manage. It’s better to have too much than too little.”

In their quest for storage for the inevitable flurry of donations, the group have reached out to Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle, who will accept donations at her office in Pontypool.

Mrs Neagle said: “I, along with many others, have been deeply moved by the heartbreaking images shown in the media this week.

“I am so pleased how Torfaen is pulling together to help those in need.”

Meanwhile, in Blaenau Gwent, Alun Davies AM has followed suit and residents can leave their donations at his office in Brynmawr.

Speaking about Aylan and the crisis, he said: “The heartbreaking picture of his small body lying lifeless on a beach in Turkey is powerful and made all the more powerful when it first appeared on social media alongside hundreds of photos of smiling children on their first day at school.

“He could have been my son or anyone’s son.

“I remember witnessing at first hand the human impact of genocide in Rwanda and again in the Balkans.

“In both cases it took a public outcry over the deaths of thousands of people before politicians took action.”

Elsewhere, Newbridge mums Laura Rees-Davies and Jemma Shepherd have come together with St Paul’s Church to host a collection next Saturday at 12.30-pm-4.30pm and on Sunday at 2pm-4pm.

Mrs Rees-Davies said: “Hearing what these people are going through really struck a chord with me as a mother, as I understand the lengths someone would go to in order to protect their children.”