The Greek island of Mytilini is struggling to deal with the influx of thousands of destitute refugees fleeing their war-torn countries and making their way on idyllic beaches, once covered by vacationers.
Almost daily, boat-loads of refugees are arriving from Turkey, where they are paying smugglers thousands of dollars for the crossing.
More than 2,000 people arrived in Mytilini this week alone, and the numbers show no sign of slowing on an island that has limited resources to deal with the new arrivals.
The refugees and migrants, many of them Syrians fleeing civil war, make the short journey from the coast of Turkey in an attempt to cross into the European Union. A record number of people were rescued from the Mediterranean this week as migrants make the journey into Italy and Greece.
Those aboard the packed rubber dinghies and fishing boats often set out in the darkness of the early morning to evade authorities and arrive on the shores of Mytilini at dawn.
Journalists from UK’s ITV news captured the moment one migrant boat came to shore on Monday. The rubber dingy was full of women and children, some wearing life vests.
We are so sorry to come to your country, but we have to, there is no way else. I’m so sorry,” said one Syrian man in English. “Our children, they will never forget this.”
A little girl told journalists at the scene that she was “very scared” aboard the boat “because it was about to sink.”
But once on land, she smiled and said she wanted to go home and sleep. When asked by the reporter where home was, she responded with a heart-wrenching, “I don’t know.”
Tens of thousands make the crossing from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands each year. At its closest point, Mytilini is just a few miles from the Turkish coast.
Mytilini is not the only Greek island dealing with Europe’s refugee crisis. Samos, Kos and Chios have also seen a huge influx in migrants in recent weeks. Along with Italy, the Greek coast has been the main entry point into Europe for the tens of thousands of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.