Report from Lesvos (2)
by Fiona O'Malley
"Three of Europe's newest arrivals! I met them as they landed on the beach near Eftalou, Lesvos.
Groups of around 50 or 60, packed into black rubber dinghies, have been making the trip from Turkey to Lesvos every day for the last eight months or so.
Although the distance between Greece and Turkey is not particularly large, the weight of the boats and sea conditions can mean a simple journey ends up taking hours.
As the dinghies approach the coastline you can hear the passengers clapping, cheering, and singing.
A network of locals and volunteers message each other whenever a new boat arrives, so that the refugees are met with dry shoes and socks, bottles of water, snacks, and medical care.
Their arrival on dry land is hugely emotional - they call home, hug and kiss each other, hug and kiss volunteers, and take load of pictures and selfies.
Greeting people arriving on boats and seeing their relief as they arrive in Europe is an enormously happy moment. However, it is slightly bittersweet knowing some of what lies ahead.
This family, and others like them, will now have to walk for 2 or 3 days to Mytilini where they will wait to be registered. They will then have to wait days until they can board a ferry to Athens. The whole time, they will most likely be sleeping outdoors with little access to showers and toilets.
By the way, a friend Clara Louise Fischer Henrichsen is raising money for the Danish Refugee Council. If you want to help her out, you can find information at http://minindsamling.flygtning.dk/syrien/3-1677
The money will be spent either on refugees in Greece or on camps in Syria, Jordan and Iraq."
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