British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos

The Greek island has seen an influx of migrants coming from Turkey

Lizzie Dearden
Friday 29 May 2015 12:25 BST
An Afghan immigrant sleeps on a bench outside a local police station as tourists cycle by
An Afghan immigrant sleeps on a bench outside a local police station as tourists cycle by

British tourists have complained about desperate migrants pouring into the Greek island of Kos making their holidays “awkward”.

More than 1,500 men, women and children have landed in the last week as the influx of people fleeing conflict and poverty continues.

Homeless and carrying the only remnants of their former lives in bags, they have been left to seek shelter in an abandoned hotel or on seaside arcades as authorities struggle to cope.

The migrant crisis has coincided with the half term break for British schools, seeing hundreds of families arriving for some early summer sun this week.

Anne Servante, a nurse from Manchester, told the Daily Mail that Kos had become “disgusting”.

“It’s really dirty and messy here now,” she added. “And it’s awkward. I’m not going to sit in a restaurant with people watching you.”

Another British couple on holiday with their grandchildren told the newspaper that they “don’t like it”, adding: “We won’t be coming back if it’s like a refugee camp again next year.”

The comments sparked outrage on Twitter, where people said they were "speechless" that comparatively wealthy holidaymakers could seemingly feel so little empathy for people risking their lives to flee warzones.

"My heart bleeds," one person sarcastically tweeted, while another added: "It's not the migrants who make Kos a disgusting hellhole, it's the British tourists who do."

Photographs show tourists cycling past families of migrants waiting for travel permits, while topless holidaymakers stroll by a homeless man sleeping on a bench.

Migrants sit on cardboard boxes while people walk past with bags full of shopping and women wash their children’s clothes in the sea as locals watch from the promenade.

Afghan immigrants land at a beach in Kos after landing in a dinghy on 27 May

Kos and its neighbouring islands in the Aegean Sea mainly see arrivals from nearby Turkey but boats landing in other parts of Greece and Italy often come from Libya and North Africa.

About 30,000 migrants have entered Greece so far this year and the country is calling for more help from the EU.

The Red Cross declared an emergency last week after more than five times as many migrants arrived in Greece by sea in the first four months of 2015 than during the same period the year before.

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