Thousands of 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. Greek authorities estimate more than 6,000 people have made the crossing in the past two months.

Many have paddled across in cheap inflatable dinghies more suited to a suburban swimming pool than the open sea. Some have made it on to the island's beaches, while others have had to be rescued by coastguard patrol boats.

Getty Images photographer Dan Kitwood is in Kos, covering the story. As dawn broke, he captured dramatic landings on the beach.

He told IBTimesUK: "It seems the tactics of the migrants and the smugglers have changed somewhat. Last week there were many landings in the mornings, but now they are arriving well before dawn in total darkness. I would imagine that is both to evade the Turkish police catching them leaving, and to sneak past the Greek authorities who I think they believe will take them back to Turkey if they catch them."

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As dawn breaks, migrant men arrive on the beach in Kos in a dinghy after making their way from the Turkish coast about 5km awayDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Migrant men arrive on the beach in a dinghy at dawnDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Migrant men step on to the beach in Kos shortly after sunrise after paddling a tiny dinghy across the sea from TurkeyDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
A dinghy is left on the beach after migrants used it to reach KosDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Pakistani migrant men arrive on the beach in a dinghy at dawn after making their way over from Turkey to KosDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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A Greek coast guard vessel picks up a dinghy carrying seven migrant men off the Turkish coastDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
A migrant man is escorted to an ambulance after being picked up by a patrol vessel in the AegeanDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
A Syrian woman is overcome with emotion as she sits on the dock in Kos after the dinghy she and her fellow migrants were travelling in was picked up by a patrol vesselDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Migrants are lined up on the dock after being picked up in a dinghy offshoreDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
A Syrian family sit on the dockside in Kos after being escorted into the harbour by the Greek coast guard who found them drifing offshoreDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
A Syrian woman comforts her daughter on the dockside in Kos after they were rescued by the Greek coast guardDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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A Syrian man carries his baby ashore after they were escorted into the harbour by the coast guardDan Kitwood/Getty Images

After arriving, the migrants are taken to a filthy abandoned hotel that has been allocated to them as a temporary shelter.

Kitwood says conditions in the hotel are deteriorating fast. He said: "It is becoming a real mess. They have running water but that is about it. It is small, with broken glass and loose wires everywhere. Every bit of space is used, with two or three families to every room.

"Some of the men have been sweeping up and trying to clear it up a bit, but the real problem is the stagnant water, mosquitoes and overflowing toilets. There is little they can do about the situation without some real help."

kos greece island refugees migrants
Migrant men walk towards the abandoned hotel that serves as temporary accommodation after landing on the islandDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
A man relaxes in the abandoned hotel in Kos where many migrants have been sleepingDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Migrant men sit behind sheets used to divide a room in the abandoned hotelDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
A migrant boy plays with a ball inside the abandoned hotelDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
A migrant shaves at a tap in the grounds of the abandoned hotelDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
The Mosavi family from Afghanistan eat bread and vegetables they received from an aid agency outside the abandoned hotelDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Migrant families heat food and keep warm around an open fire on the roof of the abandoned hotelDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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A young migrant beds down in a corridor inside the abandoned hotelDan Kitwood/Getty Images

The migrants typically face an agonising wait to find out if they will be granted refugee status. Kitwood says it is unclear how long the migrants will have to wait for their travel documents. "I spoke to many people who have been here for six days," he said. "Every day they make their way down to the police station to queue for papers to assist with their onward journey."

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Migrants discuss their situation with an official outside the police stationDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Women queue for food and water outside the abandoned hotel that serves as their temporary accommodationDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Tourists cycle past migrants waiting outside the police stationDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Migrant families sit by the beach in KosDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Mobina Mohammadi, 8, her father Morteza Mohammadi and mother Zohreh Mohammadi from Afghanistan pose for a portrait. They left Afghanistan six years ago for Iran and then made their way through Turkey, ending up on the island of KosDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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A mother comforts her crying son as people queue for food and water outside an abandoned hotel where many migrants have been sleepingDan Kitwood/Getty Images

Kos is a tiny island, just 4km (2.5 miles) from Bodrum on 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.

Tourism is the island's main source of income. However, recent newspaper stories suggesting migrants are "spoiling the atmosphere" for holidaymakers have put tourists off. Enquiries for accommodation on the Greek island have fallen by 52% in the past week, according to a Daily Telegraph report.

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Tourists relax on sun loungers on the beach in KosDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Tourists relax on the beach on the Greek island of KosDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Tourists shop near the beach in Kos. The island has seen a drop in tourist numbers which has been attributed to negative reports on the migrant crisisDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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A tourist sits at a shaded bar in KosDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
A couple walk along the beach as the sun sets over the AegeanDan Kitwood/Getty Images
kos greece island refugees migrants
Tourists walk past the ruins of a Roman gymnasium, thought to date back to the third century BCDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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A man takes photographs of the ancient Odeon of Kos, which was built by the Romans around the second or third century ADDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Tourists walk past a man resting on a bench outside the police stationDan Kitwood/Getty Images

The European Commission has proposed a plan to redistribute migrants reaching Italy and Greece, which are struggling to deal with thousands of immigrants. Under the plan, Germany and France, two of the EU's biggest states, would together take nearly 40% of the 40,000 migrants.

However, the two countries released a statement saying the plan does not take fair account of the number of refugees they already take on. The statement pointed out nearly three-quarters of EU asylum applications are made in five member states: Germany, France, Sweden, Italy and Hungary. Interior ministers are due to discuss the plan on 15 and 16 June.

Denmark, Ireland and Britain have exemptions on EU matters on immigration and the latter has said it will not participate in the relocation scheme or a separate EU plan to resettle 20,000 refugees from outside the bloc.

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Lightning strikes over Pserimos, a tiny island near KosDan Kitwood/Getty Images
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A discarded dinghy is washed by the tide as a rainbow is seen over the Greek island of PserimosDan Kitwood/Getty Images

As summer progresses and more migrants arrive, more pressure will be placed on Kos. It remains to be seen if the island will weather the storm.

Summing up the situation, Kitwood told IBTimesUK: "As a photographer for Getty Images, it is part of my role to bring these important issues of refuge and humanity to the world's attention.

"You have to question what it is that motivates someone to leave everything behind, to risk their life and that of their family, to endure conditions like this. It is vital the world sees the reality of the situation, and considers what drives migration, and also important that they understand the pressures put upon the tiny island of Kos."