At a makeshift refugee centre at Kara Tepe, a hilltop about 5km north of Lesbos island’s main town of Mytilene, about 50 white tents provided by the local council struggled to accommodate the waves of people coming in daily.
Rubbish littered the area and locals said 16 toilets were frequently blocked despite attempts by authorities to keep the area clean.
Up to 10 people could be seen sharing one of the tents, while others lay on pieces of cardboard, jostling for space under the shade of olive trees in sweltering heat.
“The government had battles on plenty of fronts and probably could not give as much attention to the problem,” the island’s mayor Spiros Galinos told Reuters.
EU leaders have pledged to relocate 16,000 migrants over two years, which Cochetel called “far too little and too late”.
Britain has said it will not participate. It is currently struggling with its own crisis as thousands of migrants seek to enter via the Channel Tunnel.
A senior spokesperson of the UNHCR told Al Jazeera on Thursday that the refugee crisis in Europe is a crisis not because of the number of refugees, but because of Europe’s failure to respond to it in a coordinated fashion.
“In our view, European countries need to work together rather than point fingers at each other. In order to deal with this situation, Europe should open more legal ways for refugees to come,” William Spindler, senior spokesperson of the UNHCR, told Al Jazeera.
The UNHCR told Al Jazeera that more than 224,000 migrants and refugees had arrived in Europe in the first seven months of the 2015, exceeding the 219,000 that had made their way to the continent a year ago. ∞∞∞∞∞ SEE MORE ∞∞∞∞∞