NEWS

Innocents Of The Refugee Crisis Are Carried Ashore By Desperate Parents, Swaddled Against The Cold

14/10/2015 17:10 | Updated 14 October 2015

On a beach in Greece an old woman shivers while singing a lullaby to an infant. The child is cold too, having journeyed across the Aegean Sea in a rubber dinghy, a craft unsuitable for such a dangerous traverse. For thousand of refugees, the island of Lesbos has become the gateway to Europe, a continent far removed from the bloodshed of Syria and the four-year savagery of the civil war.

Men and women arrive on Sykamia beach, west of the port of Mytilene. Many carry children too young to remember what they left behind. Volunteers help the migrants as they step off the ocean and onto land. Many crowd around small, hastily built fires, wet newborns swaddled against the wind. On Eftalou Beach, a doctor working for an NGO checks a baby. Further down the beach, eight-month-old twins lie on blankets on the sand. They are the innocents, involuntary participants in Europe's worst migration crisis since World War II.

Last month the European Union promised to spend $1 billion relocating refugees. More can be done. Greece will open its first “hotspot” reception centre on the beleaguered island to help process the influx of displaced, while Greek premier Alexis Tsipras has vowed to upgrade refugee facilities by next month. Many will move onto Europe in the hope of finding safety and a place to raise their young. For now, they huddle on the beach, exhausted but safe, clinging to the children for whom they make the perilous trek.

  • DIMITAR DILKOFF via Getty Images
    A man carries his child shortly after he arrived, with other refugees and migrants, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on October 12, 2015.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Refugees carry a baby while arriving in Lesbos Island, Greece on September 10, 2015 after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey in aim to reach European countries.
  • IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU via Getty Images
    Migrants and refugees arrive on Sykamia beach, west of the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on September 23, 2015.
  • IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU via Getty Images
    Migrants and refugees land on the beach at Sykamia, west of the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on September 23, 2015.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    A man holds a baby as he helps refugees and migrants upon their arrival on an inflatable dinghy to the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on September 26, 2015.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    A mother holds her baby after their arrival with other refugees and migrants at the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on October 1, 2015.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    A refugee woman with her baby arrives in Lesbos Island, Greece on September 10, 2015 after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey in aim to reach European countries.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    A man carries a child as refugees and migrants arrive on a dinghy to the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on September 30, 2015.
  • IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU via Getty Images
    A volunteer holds a baby as migrants and refugees arrive on Kagia beach, west of the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on September 22, 2015.
  • DIMITAR DILKOFF via Getty Images
    A migrant carries a baby shortly after arriving with other refugees and migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on October 12, 2015.
  • DIMITAR DILKOFF via Getty Images
    An elderly woman sings a lullaby to a baby on a beach after arriving with other migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on October 11, 2015.
  • DIMITAR DILKOFF via Getty Images
    A man kisses his baby on a beach shortly after they arrived with other migrants by boat on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on October 10, 2015.
  • DIMITAR DILKOFF via Getty Images
    A man carries his baby as he arrives, with other refugees and migrants, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on October 12, 2015.
  • DIMITAR DILKOFF via Getty Images
    A woman carries her baby shortly after arriving by boat on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on October 9, 2015.
  • DIMITAR DILKOFF via Getty Images
    A man carries his baby as he just arrived, with other refugees and migrants, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on October 8, 2015.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    A migrant holds his baby as he arrives, with other migrants and refugees, on the Greek island of Lesbos, on October 7, 2015, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    A migrant holds a baby as refugees and migrants arrive at the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on October 5, 2015.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    A migrant holding a baby drops a life vest as refugees and migrants arrive at the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on October 5, 2015.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    Refugees and migrants warm themselves above a fire after spending a night in a field on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on October 5, 2015.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    A man wearing an orange life jacket holds an infant as refugees and migrants arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on October 1, 2015.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    Refugees and migrants arrive on the shore of the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey on September 28, 2015.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    A baby cries as refugees and migrants arrive at the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on September 30, 2015.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    A refugee man carrying a baby during the arrival of refugees in the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey on a inflatable dinghy on September 29, 2015.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    Refugees and migrants arrive on the shore of the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey on September 28, 2015.
  • ARIS MESSINIS via Getty Images
    A Syrian mother holds her child as refugees and migrants arrive on the shore of the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey on September 28, 2015.
  • IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU via Getty Images
    A doctor, member of a NGO checks a baby follwing his arrival on Eftalou beach near Molivos village, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on September 24, 2015.
  • IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU via Getty Images
    Migrants and refugees land on the beach at Sykamia, west of the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on September 23, 2015.
  • IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU via Getty Images
    A man carries a baby as refugees and migrants arrive on Eftalou beach, west of the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on September 21, 2015.
  • IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU via Getty Images
    A refugee couple from Syria pose with their twin babies on Eftalou beach, west of the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on September 21, 2015.
  • IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU via Getty Images
    Eight-month old twins from Syria lie on Eftalou beach, west of the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos after their parents crossed the Aegean sea from Turkey on September 21, 2015.
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS