The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said on 10 July that Greece urgently needs help to cope with 1,000 migrants arriving each day on its shores, and called on the EU to step in before the humanitarian situation deteriorates further.

More than 77,000 people have arrived by sea to Greece so far this year, more than 60% of them Syrians, with others fleeing Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and Somalia, the UNHCR said.

"We would expect the EU to activate its emergency response because Greece is part of the EU and this is happening in Europe, it's happening on the doorstep of Europe," William Spindler of the UNHCR told a news briefing.

"We have seen huge expression of solidarity from the Greek people, the Greek public, organizing distribution of food, water, milk for the babies and so on which is particularly moving, given the economic situation in Greece. But Greece urgently needs help and we expect Europe to step forward," he added.

Local authorities on islands including Lesvos, where the situation is "particularly dire", are unable to handle the massive flow, he said.

"The situation in Lesvos you mentioned is particularly dire, about half of the arrivals in the Greek islands are arriving there in Lesvos. We registered recently 1,600 people arriving in one day alone," Spindler said.