“Politicians are keen to wipe their hands of the “swarms of humans at our doorstep” – as the mayor of Calais put it. Projects like ‘Mare Nostrum”, which tasks the navy to patrol the Mediterranean for capsized boats and rescue the overboard people have been cancelled in cold blood, in a bid to make the crossing more risky and thus dissuade further migrants.
With conditions on Kos becoming increasingly chaotic, the Greek government chartered the auto ferry Eleftherios Venizelos last week to accommodate up to 2,500 Syrians and ease the pressure on the island.
But unlike other regions receiving an influx of migrants, the island does not have a registration or accommodation centre and a team of four police slowly process the backlog of cases.
And we ran from war and our country, so it felt that everything will be okay now that we are away, but we were really shocked when we were sleeping in the streets and no clean water and no safe place to stay and dogs everywhere.
“I’m here because of my children, there is a future here but there is no future (in Syria)”, said 18-year-old Shireen, a history student from Al-Hasakha who carried her 10-month-old daughter off the boat. We didn’t have blankets.
Sitting on a wall at a bus station in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, the wiry Syrian is unshaven, sunglasses perched on his head. Many were believed to be heading to Athens and then to Thessaloniki.
When people fleeing awful conditions in their home countries refuse refuge in countries like Greece and Italy they cease to be refugees and become irregular economic migrants.
He described a “really dangerous” journey that he was not sure he was going to survive. Fences, tear gas, even bullets can’t keep them out. They said one body was recovered from the same wreck.
Ershad Reaie, 22, from Herat in Afghanistan, said he has no final destination in mind as tries to make a new life for himself.
Joanna Kakissis: I cope just by getting to know [people], because I’ve met some remarkable people in the last few years reporting on migration. Thousands of refugees had piled up on Macedonia’s border as they tried to travel north from Greece toward Germany, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom. Facing what the European Commission says is the worst refugee crisis since the war, European governments are bickering over how to deal with record numbers of migrants.
Separately, the coast guard said it had picked up 877 people in 30 search and rescue operations from Friday morning to Monday morning off the coasts of the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos.