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Video: How a Greek island became a gateway to Europe

FRANCE 24 screen grab | Many migrants have set up camp on the beach as they wait for the necessary documents to continue their journey.

Every day, hundreds of new migrants arrive on the tiny island of Kos after making the perilous across the Mediterranean. As local authorities buckle under the pressure, many migrants face horrific conditions before they can leave.


Since January, the UN refugee agency estimates that around 160,000 migrants have landed on Greece’s shores. Kos, along with a handful of other Aegean islands, has borne the brunt of the influx, and it is starting to show.

Every morning, hundreds of migrants from countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan crowd outside the local police station in search of a temporary residency permit that will allow them to travel to Athens and eventually to other European nations.

"I have been waiting for this paper for seven days (...) We need to go, just let us go!" a frustrated migrant from Iraq tells FRANCE 24.

While they wait for the necessary documents, many of the migrants are forced to stay in make-shift camps on the beach.


Click on the player above to watch FRANCE 24’s full video report from Kos.

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