Under fire But the government has also come under fire from aid agencies and the opposition for not doing enough to handle the crisis.
The daily arrival to the Greek island of Lesbos by thousands of refugees – hailing from war-torn nations like Syria and Sudan – is intended to be nothing more than a pit stop for majority.
Instead, they head to Greece’s northern border with Macedonia, cross the Balkans and head to more prosperous European countries, particularly Germany and the Scandinavian countries.
A vehicle ferry carrying more than 2,400 Syrian refugees has arrived at the port of Piraeus near Athens.
When the migrants arrive on the Greek islands there is little if anything for them and most have been forced to sleep outdoors.
Apart from buses on hand to take the refugees from the port to the Piraeus metro station, nobody appeared to be available to offer guidance on where to go.
With conditions on Kos becoming increasingly chaotic, the Greek government chartered the auto ferry Eleftherios Venizelos last week to accommodate up to 2,500 Syrians and ease the pressure on the island.
Jwan had travelled with his two sisters from Turkey to the island of Lesbos.
“First they told us the ship would go Thessaloniki, then Athens”, said Darek Khouja, 18, from Aleppo.
Some of the refugees showed tickets, for which they had paid 60 euros ($67), for a journey directly to Thessaloniki.
Mediterranean migrant crisis. A ferry passenger (left) reacts to the site of massed migrants and refugees (right) as she arrives off of a ferry in Kos Town, Kos, Greece, Thursday August. 20, 2015. It was unclear why. However, any plan to dump refugees close to another country’s border could have left Greece open to criticism that it was effectively shifting the problem on to its neighbours.
“The only way we could find to make this work was to put up a board (advertising) sandwiches we could sell to them (the migrants), because all the tourists were gone from the area”, said Kitrina, who said the Olympia became a “migrant restaurant” last week.
“Whether they do it, I don’t know”, he said. “It has very good universities and I want to continue my studies, get on with my life”, Khouja said.
He and his friend Kamel Farezu, 20, both engineering students, traveled together to Greece from Turkey.
In Kos Syrians can be seen taking photographs of each other on the beach using their smartphones and ordering coffee at local cafes where they can connect to Internet. From Turkey, she and her family crossed over to the small Greek island of Leros in a three-hour sea journey.
Last week’s arrivals in Greece were equal to nearly half the number for all of 2014 and bring the total for this year to 160,000. This has strained an ill-prepared reception system that relies heavily on volunteers.
The Greek government has tried to alleviate the crisis by sending a cruise ship to Kos, on which all new arrivals will be temporarily housed until they can be registered and move on.
Exhausted migrants from Middle Eastern and Asian countries including Mauritius, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Burma and Afghanistan jumped into the sea and desperately swam towards the coast.