Aid workers critical of EU-Turkey migrant deal

Aid workers critical of EU-Turkey migrant deal

The number of refugees arriving on Greek shores has fallen dramatically since a deal was brokered between Turkey and Europe but aid workers say summer's coming, and more migrants will too.

An idyllic stretch of coastline is the Greek frontline of the migrant crisis. The village and the people in it are the first responders.

"There are people soaking wet," says local Stratos Valamios. "They are scared, hungry, and what can you do when you see mothers with children shivering? You just trying to escape and come here. You help. To me there is no other option."

Mr Valamios is one of the villagers nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, representing the Lesbos fishermen who dropped everything to help refugees arriving -- sometimes as many as 2000 a day he says, often in boats sinking with their weight.

"I got on my boat, and a woman with her baby, she was crying," he says. "She couldn't stop crying. Her story was that she, the previous day, she had tried to make the crossing and the boat sunk. She lost two of her babies. The bodies of her babies were recovered and we had a funeral and she left. So tell me, who's the hero here?"

The new deal between Turkey and Europe is supposed to be a deterrent for migrants and the number of boats arriving has fallen. But they're still coming to Lesbos -- four in the last week, carrying about 150 people.

One of the boats was found with the punctures patched up, after having been stabbed by the refugees so they couldn't be turned straight back to neighbouring Turkey.

"The feeling is that, come the good weather, they will come back here," says Australian Zarah Prior.

Ms Prior volunteers at one of the seaside camps that offers immediate clothes, food and beds. She says Australia and New Zealand should try to help as much Europe.

"It's a global crisis," she says.

Just up the road is another transit camp -- once overflowing, now a ghost camp, for the time being at least.

"They come, they will," says volunteer Billy Vasilis. "They're not going to stop."

But this is a very different scene for volunteers like Mr Vasilis, who live and work in the hills, used to watching as dozens of boats streamed across the Aegean Sea every day and night.

"Sometimes I was crying seeing these people," he says.

Many aid workers will keep holding vigils on the shores, critical of the deal with Turkey and uncertain it will work.

For migrants and refugees who made the crossing over the Aegean Sea, landing in the prized gateway for Europe, under the EU-Turkey deal if their asylum claims are rejected it won't be long before they're rounded up and sent straight back -- a deterrent that for now appears to be working.