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Lesbos: the tourist island where half Greece's migrants land

Dispatches from the beach: ‘The smugglers don’t care what happens – they just put you on the boat and say: go’

1 August 2015

9:00 AM

1 August 2015

9:00 AM


A young woman in a headscarf stumbled over some rocks and onto the beach. She stood there, rigid, stunned, then burst into tears. A grandmotherly German tourist hugged her. ‘It’s over now, you’re safe,’ she said. ‘You’re in Europe.’

A Burmese man from the same boat looked around anxiously and asked: ‘Will the police here beat us?’ It was after dawn on the Greek island of Lesbos, the sun glinting off the turquoise sea, an idyllic holiday-brochure landscape of hills with whitewashed houses.

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Paul Wood is a BBC correspondent.

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