Photos Capture Harrowing Arrival Of Refugees On Greek Shores

06/19/2015 06:15 pm ET | Updated Jun 20, 2015

Every day, hundreds of refugees arrive at the Greek island of Lesbos, seeking a refuge in Europe from their war-stricken homelands.

Most of them hail from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, traveling from Turkey to the Greek islands across dangerous seas and on overcrowded boats, the Associated Press reports. "I want to feel I am human, that I have freedom, like everyone," Syrian refugee Lukman Muhammed Ali told the news agency as he reached Lesbos on Wednesday.

The small Aegean island, also known as Myteline, has seen a sharp rise in the number of refugees this year. The United Nations refugee agency said this week that 737 refugees came ashore at Lesbos this January; in May the number rose almost ten-fold to 7,200. The arrivals are just one part of a spiraling refugee crisis on Europe's borders, which has claimed the lives of 1,800 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in the past year.

The influx on Lesbos island has left refugees struggling to find shelter and register with authorities once they reach the Greek island. Photographers have captured harrowing scenes of the families arriving at Lesbos, as they confront the next harrowing steps of their journey to find safety.

  • AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    A Syrian mother warms up her daughter after arriving at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    An Afghan migrant holds her two-month-old baby in Lesbos, after having walked for two days from a northern part of the island, on June 19, 2015.
  • AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Syrian refugees arrive at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Migrants embrace after arriving at the island of Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Migrants protect themselves from the rain while waiting to be registered in Lesbos on June 19, 2015.
  • AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Syrian refugees flash the victory as their dinghy arrives at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Migrants wait to be registered at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • AFP/Getty Images/Soeren Bidstrup
    Afghan refugees arrive at Lesbos on June 2, 2015.
  • AFP/Getty Images/Soeren Bidstrup
    An Afghan refugee carries a baby upon arrival at Lesbos on June 2, 2015.
  • AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    A Syrian migrant holds her family's documents after disembarking at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Syrian refugees attempt to send messages on their cell phones upon arrival at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
    Syrian migrants wait by a makeshift cell phone charging station at an old indoor swimming pool in Lesbos, on June 16, 2015.
  • AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
    Syrian migrants arrive at Lesbos by dinghy on June 18, 2015.
  • AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Migrants sleep on pieces of cardboard on the pavement in Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    A migrant family waits to be registered at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.

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