Magazine

In pictures: An emotional arrival in Europe

More than half of the 264,500 people who have crossed the Mediterranean in the hope of settling in Europe this year have arrived in Greece - and most of those have landed on the five Greek islands closest to the Turkish coast. Photographer Fernando Del Berro watched some of them arrive on the northern shore of Lesbos.

Image copyright Fernando Molina
Image caption Fifty metres from the shore Fouad, from Damascus, raises his two-month-old baby above his head and cries "Freedom!" Many of the other passengers also erupt in cries of joy.
Image copyright Fernando Molina
Image caption Closer to the shore, some throw themselves into the water before the bottom of the dangerously overloaded boat touches the pebbles.
Image copyright Fernando Molina
Image caption At the end of the 14km trip from Turkey, they are euphoric and cannot wait to be back on dry land - this time Europe, near the village of Efthalou.
Image copyright Fernando Molina
Image caption For some the relief at the end of the risky crossing brings tears. Many tell stories of the Turkish coastguard firing water cannon in an attempt to fill the boats and make them sink.
Image copyright Fernando Del Berro
Image caption Those who cannot swim find the journey traumatic. Children may need comforting. Tamara, from Syria, has salt water on her hair, face and clothes, but it will dry rapidly in the scorching heat.
Image copyright Fernando Molina
Image caption The boats often arrive at the hottest time of day, and many on board are dehydrated as well as exhausted. Ojwan, from Aleppo, holds his two sons, sighing: "We're safe now."
Image copyright Fernando Molina
Image caption A couple take a celebratory selfie next to the flimsy boat that carried them to Europe. Smugglers charge 1,000 euros for adults and 600 for children. One boat may carry 60 people.
Image copyright Fernando Molina
Image caption Saad, from Idlib in Syria, holds his nephew while helping his sister to clamber up the slope behind the beach. Local volunteers often meet the boats, hand out water, and explain how to find buses that travel to the island's main town, Mytilini.
Image copyright Fernando Molina
Image caption The climb up from the sea to the road is steep in parts of this 13km-long coast. To get to the bus it's a 10km walk that everyone must make, regardless of age or fitness.
Image copyright Fernando Molina
Image caption For a long time the Turkish coast remains visible behind the travellers. Syrians fleeing a distant war, dragging babies and belongings, have become a familiar sight on the island.
Image copyright Fernando Molina
Image caption The UNHCR and Medecins Sans Frontieres run four buses daily to Mytilini from two northern villages, Molyvos and Sykamineas. But up to 1,000 people may arrive on this coast in 24 hours, so some cover the full 65km on foot. Saad and his family are lucky enough to have seats.
Image copyright Fernando Molina
Image caption Anyone who has left Kabul, Damascus or Baghdad and arrived on Lesbos is already a long way from home, but this may be just the start of a longer journey

@FdelBerro

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