At times in Lesvos, one feels completely helpless

In this photo you see a small inflatable boat with nearly 40 Syrian refugees on board. Their engine had stalled and they were drifting helplessly towards the cliffs. From where we stood, we could hear the screams as the boat took on water from the waves that crashed against it.

It had been one of the busiest days Lesvos had seen. Boat after boat had been landing and because of the heavy seas, many were getting into trouble. The coastguard was called, but they were already out trying to save another boat. The Spanish lifeguards were attempting to save another. Standing there we could only watch. Time after time as Susanne, a Greek friend who lives in Lesvos, called the rescue services, but none were free.

Finally two volunteers, using a salvaged smugglers boat, were able to get along side and escort the refugees to the relative safety of a beach. Though some collapsed on arriving, on this day, on this boat, thankfully all were safe, all survived.

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The teams of coastguards and lifeguards are stretched to the limit here each day, but they never stop working, never stop saving lives. However they need more support, more crews or with the winter, many more boats and many more lives will be lost.

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