Photos: A surge in asylum-seekers, overwhelm Greek islands

UPDATED ON OCT 18, 2019 12:28 PM IST
Life vests are seen on a beach at the seaside village of Tsonia, Lesbos island, Greece after the arrival of refugees and migrants on a rubber boat from Turkey. Greece’s eastern islands are struggling to cope with a surge in arrivals of migrants and asylum-seekers that has undermined efforts to ease severe overcrowding at refugee camps. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)
The number of people reaching Lesbos, Samos and other Greeks islands in the eastern Aegean Sea is the highest since the European Union reached a 6 billion-euro agreement in 2016 to prevent migrants from leaving the coast of Turkey and heading to the EU. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)
Tombstones marking the graves of migrants and refugees who drowned at sea while crossing from nearby Turkey are seen at a cemetery near the village of Kato Tritos. The surge started before Turkey’s military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria. Since the offensive began last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to quell European criticism by warning that he could “open the gates” and send more than 3 million Syrian refugees to Europe. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)
Dinghies carrying migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are reaching the islands despite enhanced coast guard patrolling in recent weeks supported by the Greek military. This is exacerbating problems at crowded refugee camps. A deadly fire at the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos on September 29 triggered riots at the site, which is at 400% capacity. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)
A Syrian boy plays with a toy car at the Moria refugee and migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. More than 12,000 people are currently housed in Moria following a spike in migrant arrivals over the summer. The Greek government promised to accelerate transfers to the mainland and expand the network of camps there. But those transfers have so far been outnumbered by new arrivals on the islands. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)
A Syrian refugee prays next to tents at the perimeter of the overcrowded refugee and migrant camp at Vathy on the island of Samos. It said more than 11,500 attempts to enter the EU via the eastern Mediterranean Sea were recorded in September, up 16% from the month of August. It detected almost 50,600 border crossing attempts in the eastern Mediterranean in the first nine months of this year, up 22% from last year. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)
Pargoul Rahmani, 57, makes bread at a makeshift bakery in the overcrowded Moria refugee and migrant camp. Human rights group Amnesty International has described Moria as “overcrowded and unsafe” and urged other EU countries to help Greece settle asylum-seekers. Greece’s new conservative government says it also plans to detain migrants without the right to request asylum and wants to resume deportations back to Turkey under terms detailed in the 2016 EU-Turkey deal. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)
Authorities fear that if the arrival numbers remain high through October, a winter crisis will be difficult to avoid. The EU says it is willing to offer more help to Greece to deal with the spike in migration, but is also pressing Athens to step up deportations. “Despite all the effort that has been made, what do numbers tell us: That there shouldn’t be any (refugees and migrants) on the islands.,” Avramopoulos, a veteran Greek politician, said. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)

Life vests are seen on a beach at the seaside village of Tsonia, Lesbos island, Greece after the arrival of refugees and migrants on a rubber boat from Turkey. Greece’s eastern islands are struggling to cope with a surge in arrivals of migrants and asylum-seekers that has undermined efforts to ease severe overcrowding at refugee camps. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)

The number of people reaching Lesbos, Samos and other Greeks islands in the eastern Aegean Sea is the highest since the European Union reached a 6 billion-euro agreement in 2016 to prevent migrants from leaving the coast of Turkey and heading to the EU. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)

Tombstones marking the graves of migrants and refugees who drowned at sea while crossing from nearby Turkey are seen at a cemetery near the village of Kato Tritos. The surge started before Turkey’s military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria. Since the offensive began last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to quell European criticism by warning that he could “open the gates” and send more than 3 million Syrian refugees to Europe. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)

Dinghies carrying migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are reaching the islands despite enhanced coast guard patrolling in recent weeks supported by the Greek military. This is exacerbating problems at crowded refugee camps. A deadly fire at the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos on September 29 triggered riots at the site, which is at 400% capacity. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)

A Syrian boy plays with a toy car at the Moria refugee and migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. More than 12,000 people are currently housed in Moria following a spike in migrant arrivals over the summer. The Greek government promised to accelerate transfers to the mainland and expand the network of camps there. But those transfers have so far been outnumbered by new arrivals on the islands. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)

A Syrian refugee prays next to tents at the perimeter of the overcrowded refugee and migrant camp at Vathy on the island of Samos. It said more than 11,500 attempts to enter the EU via the eastern Mediterranean Sea were recorded in September, up 16% from the month of August. It detected almost 50,600 border crossing attempts in the eastern Mediterranean in the first nine months of this year, up 22% from last year. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)

Pargoul Rahmani, 57, makes bread at a makeshift bakery in the overcrowded Moria refugee and migrant camp. Human rights group Amnesty International has described Moria as “overcrowded and unsafe” and urged other EU countries to help Greece settle asylum-seekers. Greece’s new conservative government says it also plans to detain migrants without the right to request asylum and wants to resume deportations back to Turkey under terms detailed in the 2016 EU-Turkey deal. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)

Authorities fear that if the arrival numbers remain high through October, a winter crisis will be difficult to avoid. The EU says it is willing to offer more help to Greece to deal with the spike in migration, but is also pressing Athens to step up deportations. “Despite all the effort that has been made, what do numbers tell us: That there shouldn’t be any (refugees and migrants) on the islands.,” Avramopoulos, a veteran Greek politician, said. (Petros Giannakouris / AP)

About The Gallery

Greece's eastern islands are struggling to cope with a surge in arrivals of migrants and asylum-seekers that has undermined efforts to ease severe overcrowding at refugee camps. The number of people is the highest since the European Union reached a 6 billion-euro agreement in 2016 to prevent migrants from leaving the coast of Turkey and heading to the EU. The surge started before Turkey's military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria, but there are concerns that it could grow much bigger.

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