Kos Migrants Greece
A dinghy overcrowded with Afghan migrants arrives on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, on May 27, 2015.Angelos Tzortzinis—AFP/Getty Images
Kos Migrants Greece
Kos Migrants Greece
Kos Migrants Greece
Kos Migrants Greece
Kos Migrants Greece
Kos Migrants Greece
Kos Migrants Greece
Kos Migrants Greece
Kos Migrants Greece
Kos Migrants Greece
Kos Migrants Greece
Kos Migrants Greece
A dinghy overcrowded with Afghan migrants arrives on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea be
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Angelos Tzortzinis—AFP/Getty Images
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The Tiny Greek Island at the Center of the Refugee Crisis

Jun 02, 2015

Greece has long been a major entry point to Europe for migrants and refugees in search of something better. Thousands of them have in recent months landed on the island of Kos, a paradisiacal vacation spot less than three miles from Turkey's southwestern coast.

In late May, the International Organization for Migration said more than 37,000 people have arrived in Greece this year, up from 34,000 throughout 2014. Fleeing conflict or conscription, disaster or economic hardship, many face smugglers or scams before boarding inflatable boats across uneasy waters in bids for asylum or opportunity.

The route across the Aegean Sea from Turkey has proven far less deadly than the treacherous one from Libya to Italy or Malta, where some 1,800 people have died this year. In an effort to ease the burden on the European Union's southernmost states, including debt-stricken Greece, since most are allowed to remain in the country where they enter, the bloc is working on a way to divide the responsibility. But one thing is certain as summer deepens: warmer weather will bring more crossings.

Read next: Migrants Find a Safer Route Into Europe via the Balkans

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