Lesbos has become a central point in Europe’s refugee crisis, with Amnesty International estimating that more than 33,000 migrants have made the crossing between Turkey and the Greek island since August 1.
The influx, with more than 2,000 new migrants arriving each day, is overwhelming the island’s resources and leaving tragic evidence of the travelers’ desperate journey. As migrants arrive on Lesbos and make the long walk to the island’s main city, they discard deflated dinghies, tubes and life vests. Local authorities have piled the items together in a growing heap of garbage, as shown in this photo by Reuters’ Yannis Behrakis
This particular pile, the photographer tells TIME, didn’t exist two weeks ago.
David Milliband, a British Labor politician and the president of the International Rescue Committee, says the mound of life jackets is “testimony to the tide of misery coming from the Middle East,” as hundreds of thousands of people have fled the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.