Refugee crisis: Dealing with the waves moving from Greece to Germany

Hundreds of thousands of people seeking a new life have arrived in Europe by boat this year alone, an influx of people that has governments scrambling. CBC's Nahlah Ayed travelled to Europe to talk to people on the last leg of their journey, while Margaret Evans travelled to Greece — where the vast majority of those who cross by sea first arrive.

CBC's Margaret Evans and Nahlah Ayed talk to people fleeing Afghanistan, Syria

CBC's Margaret Evans reported from the Greek island of Lesbos, where many are eager to get clearance to leave the island and make their way through Europe in the hope of starting a new life. (CBC)

Hundreds of thousands of people seeking a new life have poured into Europe by sea this year alone, a UN agency says, with the vast majority of the asylum seekers landing in Greece.

CBC's Margaret Evans returned to the island of Lesbos to see how people who made the trip from places like Syria and Afghanistan are coping — and to get a sense of the conditions in a camp meant to house people while they wait for what will come next.

"They want people to wait here while the EU gets its quota system up and running — a quota system that's supposed to share out the burden of refugees, particularly helping countries like Greece," Evans reported.

But trying to convince people to stay "would be a very hard sell," Evans says.

"Everybody that we've spoken to in the camp wants one thing: they want their registration, they want then to get a ferry ticket and to move on towards other countries in Europe, where they believe they can make a better living for themselves and for their family."

CBC's Nahlah Ayed travelled to a holding centre in Austria, near the German border. The centre, which can accommodate as many as 1,000 people, provides beds, blankets, a place to shower and a chance to charge the cellphones that help many stay connected as they make their journey.

"This, for some people, is the first chance they've had to have a real shelter of any kind since they've started up on the road," Ayed says.

For most at the centre in Austria, Germany is the "preferred destination" Ayed says. 

"It has taken many weeks for some of them to get to Germany," Ayed says. "It will take far longer before they can call this country home." 


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