Refugees in Winter

Greece is bracing for thousands more Syrians and other people to land on Lesbos and other key island crossings from Turkey, as those fleeing conflict remain undeterred by the worsening weather and colder autumn temperatures. “The waves were rolling fiercely with the salt water nearly choking us,” said Syrian Um Tariq. “We thought we were going to die.” The trip, meant to be a half-hour long, took three hours in a tightly packed dinghy. Women cried out in panic and men shouted, desperately holding onto their babies and young children, appealing for assistance from the volunteers gathered on shore to help them land. Some 169 people reportedly drowned crossing the Aegean Sea in September; 44 of them were children. In one week in early October, 7,000 people a day came ashore in Greece, said the International Organization for Migration. After Syrians, Afghans are the chief nationality among the nearly half-million people who have landed on Greek shores from Turkey this year, marking a tenfold increase from 2014.

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