Between 50 to 100 of these 'plastic boats' are arriving each and everyday to the shores of the greek island of Lesvos, separated by the Aegean sea from Turkey only by 10 km. It is a desperate decision to board such an overcrowded, unfit boat, as the likelihood that they will never reach the greek shore is pretty high. It is a business. The refugees pay between 800-2000 Euro to smugglers per person. The one who agrees to be the driver of the boat, gets a free ride and a 5 minute introduction on how to 'drive' the boat.
If the refugees are lucky they are greeted by some very dedicated volunteers to provide some dry clothes, water and food- as there is no structure in place no big humanitarian organization dealing with this human exodus in a professional way."In this case the boat didn't arrive at Skala Skaminia - the shore where most boats arrive - but just outside the capital, Mitilini. My husband Andrea and I happen to spot them, pull over and help the exhausted refugees out of the boat, around 60 people are fitted tightly into each boat. Luckily there were another two, more experienced, volunteers driving by who knew what to do, together the four of us did what we could. We had people collapse in our arms, with no help or doctor nearby...we drove them to the nearest camp.
Many amongst the refugees are young children. I can't imagine how these moms must be feeling. It has been said that about 400k refugees went through Lesvos already, another 2 million syrian refugees waiting in Turkey to do that same, dangerous crossing.