Stranded refugees Kos
Europe is confronted by the biggest refugee crisis since WWII. In June 2015 I was taking pictures of the stranded refugees on the Isle of Kos in Greece. This year approximately 200.000 refugees have reached Greece by sea from Turkey, of which 6000 landed on the island of Kos in the month May. The refugees have reported that at sea they experience great fear and anxiety because the Greek coast guards try to disengage their engines and push the rubber boats back into Turkish territorial water before they eventually and reluctantly engage in rescuing the shipwrecked passengers. Once at Kos they find shelter in the abandoned hotel “Captain Elias” while waiting for the overwhelmed Greek authorities to provide them with travel documents. The conditions in the hotel are far below internationally recognized (Sphere) standards: they are not provided with food and adequate water and sanitation. MSF is present but overwhelmed as well. Furthermore, the “hotel” is damaged due to fire, allegedly set by the refugees to burn get rid of parasites and wastes and/or to protest against the poor living conditions. The refugees, coming from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, remain for two weeks on the island waiting for their travel documents to be processed. As soon as they have the documents they take the ferry to Athens and practically all of them continue their journey to other countries in Europe often to reunite with relatives.