A charity worker has spoken to the Croydon Guardian about "the great humanitarian crisis of our age" as he helps feed refugees gathered on the Greek island of Leros.

Your Local Guardian:

Refugees: The island of Leros, off the Turkish coast (Pic: Google Maps)

Jad Adams, chairman of Croydon-based homeless charity Nightwatch, has spent the summer volunteering on the island, some 30 miles from the Turkish beach where the body of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi, pictured in international media this morning, washed up.

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The island has itself struggled to cope with thousands of migrants and refugees arriving in a few months, he said.

Mr Adams said: "That photograph is replicated many times across the eastern Mediterranean. The only difference between the death of that little boy and so many others is that there wasn't a photographer to capture most of the deaths.

"This is the great humanitarian crisis of our age. We will be judged by our approach to this crisis the way we judge people alive in the 1930s.

"We have to have the courage to say, 'If we have the resources to go to war we have the resources to deal with this crisis.'

"I have met thousands of migrants here, and every one has been fleeing a war zone.

"That sort of news image can really make a great difference."

Mr Adams said contributions made by many individual Britons to refugees, including holidaymakers in the region, had been astounding but that the Government's efforts were inadequate. He said: "Britain's contribution has been pathetically small."

Croydon Council leader Tony Newman said the "awful" image was more evidence that "the country and the Prime Minister should be doing more" to respond, and accused David Cameron of "shaming the country" with his reaction to the crisis.

He said: "We have a situation where other countries are sharing a much greater burden, and now even The Sun newspaper is calling on Cameron to act."

Coun Newman called on the Government to provide more funding to allow councils to settle more migrants.

He added: "A borough like Croydon, where you have huge pressures anyway, we're used to dealing with this more than anywhere else. Local people overwhelmingly want to do the right thing.

"But Croydon alone can't deal with this."

Your Local Guardian:

At odds: Couns Tony Newman, left, and Tim Pollard

Conservative opposition leader Tim Pollard said: "As a human being, clearly that's an image that has pulled at the world's heart strings and it's a problem that the world needs to face up to."

But he would not be drawn on whether the image should prompt further action from his party, suggesting it was not his place to comment.

He added: "I think that one of the upsetting things of our society is people who are not involved in making decisions holding forth on the right thing to do.

"In true media fashion we have four or five different stories, of which Syria is only one."

Mr Pollard also questioned whether European countries should be responsible for shouldering the full burden of the refugee crisis.

He said: "What we have got here is that some people are saying its a European problem. I don't think that's right. I think it lies with the world."

Steve O'Connell, London Assembly member for Croydon and Sutton and a Conservative Croydon councillor, said: "The picture had a tragic impression on me - it just hits you.

"It takes almost an eternity to sink in - this is the terrible sight of a dead baby."

Mr O'Connell was reluctant to say whether the UK Government should be doing more to offer refuge to those in the Mediterranean.

But he suggested that the photograph of Aylan Kurdi could do much to influence public perception of the crisis.

He said: "We live in a world where pictures and video have a big impact. You can't detach the emotional aspect from the political impact.

"We are a humanitarian country. There will be some people who might see that picture and say its not about [immigration], it's a human tragedy."