“Greek island refugee crisis: local people and tourists rally round migrants,” by Patrick Kingsley for the Guardian:
On the northern coast of Lesbos, on the shore outside a famous local hotel, the footfall is usually limited to tourists. But this morning, there is an unusual interloper. It’s the president of the local village, Thanassis Andreotis, who stands on the back of his white pick-up and tugs the remains of a huge inflatable dinghy up from the beach below. Every morning now, refugees use dinghies like this one to get from the Turkish shore – six miles away in the distance – to the Greek islands. And Andreotis sees it as his human duty to pick up the debris.
“It’s way, way, way more than last year,” says Andreotis, a retired policeman. “Last year I’d be doing this once a week. Now it’s once a day.”
There have long been refugees trying their luck in these waters. But this year, amid the world’s biggest wave of mass-migration since the second world war, the numbers arriving on this isolated shoreline have reached record levels. Arrivals to the Greek archipelago are already 50% higher than for the whole of 2014 – and have even now out-paced Italy. Lesbos, hitherto known as an exquisite tourist destination, has become the frontline – the Greek Lampedusa…