Elsewhere online
December 11, 2015

Migrant Crisis Draws Wave of Volunteers to Greek Island

Hundreds of volunteers are flocking to the Greek island of Lesbos, a major arrival point for Syrians fleeing their country's bloody civil conflict, to provide services and comfort to the refugees, The Wall Street Journal writes.

Underwritten by charities, crowdfunding campaigns, and their own savings, hundreds of people from Europe and the Americas — from medical professionals to designated "baby-huggers" — have converged on Lesbos, where some 436,000 migrants have landed since January, according to United Nations figures. About 200 people have drowned making the perilous eight-mile sea crossing from Turkey in dinghies.

With Greek authorities and aid groups overwhelmed by the influx, the volunteers are providing a patchwork of assistance. Some are critical of what they call a slow and limited response by government and aid agencies. Officials from major organizations said some volunteers are hampering the work of professionals providing services such as search-and-rescue, putting migrants at risk.