Desperate refugees fleeing war and violence in Syria and Afghanistan have been arriving on the Greek island of Kos after a perilous sea voyage from Turkey. Packed on to overcrowded rubber dinghies, some have made it on to the island's beaches, while others have had to be rescued by coastguard patrol boats.

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Refugees packed on to a dinghy celebrate as they land on the Greek island of Kos after crossing the Aegean from TurkeyYannis Behrakis/Reuters
kos greece island refugees migrants
A Syrian refugee carrying a toddler jumps off a dinghy upon arrivalYannis Behrakis/Reuters
kos greece island refugees migrants
Seven-months-old Jaffe is held by her mother, Syrian refugee Nada, in the back of a coastguard van after they were rescued off KosYannis Behrakis/Reuters
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An engineless dinghy, packed with immigrants, is dwarfed by a ferry in the Aegean SeaYannis Behrakis/Reuters
kos greece island refugees migrants
The remains of a dinghy that had been used by immigrants is buffeted by waves during a storm on KosYannis Behrakis/Reuters

The migrants typically face an agonising wait to find out if they will be granted refugee status.

Some wait weeks for travel documents, staying in a filthy abandoned hotel that has been allocated to the migrants as a temporary shelter.

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Immigrants look out from an abandoned hotel on KosYannis Behrakis/Reuters
kos greece island refugees migrants
A Congolese immigrant sleeps in an abandoned hotel, where hundreds of immigrants have found temporary shelterYannis Behrakis/Reuters
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Afghan migrants wash themselves next to the abandoned hotel used as a temporary shelterAngelos Tzortzinis/AFP
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A migrant man from Bangladesh checks his hair using a broken mirror in an abandoned hotel on KosDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
A migrant and her child shelter under a sheet outside the police station during heavy rainDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Migrant women shelter from the rain as they wait outside the police stationDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Mazen from Syria throws his three-year-old daughter Bissan in the air while standing on the beach outside the local police station on KosDan Kitwood/Getty Images

But spare a thought for the real victims of this crisis, according to the Daily Mail: British tourists whose holidays are being ruined. The newspaper reported that Brits on holiday have had to suffer the indignity of being stared at by hungry refugees while they eat in restaurants.

Daily Mail Kos
Daily Mail

Anne Servante, a nurse from Manchester, told the newspaper: "It's awkward. I'm not going to sit in a restaurant with people watching you."

The Mail didn't report on how residents of Kos feel about their island being overrun by British sunseekers on package holidays.

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Tourists and a group of temporarily detained immigrants take shelter from rain outside a police station on KosYannis Behrakis/Reuters
kos greece island refugees migrants
Tourists cycle past an Afghan immigrant sleeping on a bench outside a local police station on the Greek island of KosYannis Behrakis/Reuters

Kos is a tiny island just off the Turkish mainland. Turkey's position as a bridge from Asia to Europe makes it the ideal transit point for migrants from the Middle East and as far afield as Africa and South Asia.

Greece's coastguard says nearly 12,000 immigrants were apprehended entering the country illegally in April – an almost seven-fold increase from the previous year.

kos greece island refugees migrants
A dinghy overcrowded with Afghan immigrants arrives on Kos, after crossing the AegeanAngelos Tzortzinis/AFP
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A deflated dinghy used by immigrants to cross from Turkey to Greece is seen on a beach on KosYannis Behrakis/Reuters
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A Syrian refugee takes a selfie as she walks on the beach after arriving on Kos with her family on a dinghyYannis Behrakis/Reuters
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Recently arrived immigrants take photos on KosYannis Behrakis/Reuters
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An Afghan immigrant, who arrived on a dinghy from Turkey, tries to communicate with relatives as he waits for temporary documents outside a police stationYannis Behrakis/Reuters
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Hundreds of newly arrived immigrants walk towards a temporary shelter soon after landing on KosYannis Behrakis/Reuters

According to government estimates, some 37,500 immigrants and asylum seekers have reached Greece illegally so far this year.

EU countries are struggling to stem the flow of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East and to share the burden more evenly across the continent.

In a bid to help Italy and Greece, which have borne the brunt of migration from Africa, the European Commission has drafted a plan to disperse 40,000 Eritrean and Syrians to other member countries.

That has met resistance from some EU governments. Britain has said it will not participate.