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Stranded on Kos: Europe or Die (Trailer)

Coming soon: With some reports focusing on holiday-makers on the Greek island of Kos feeling "disgusted" by the influx of refugees, VICE News investigates how officials are failing to meet even the minimum EU standards for refugee reception.

Demonized by some of the UK's tabloid press and holiday-makers alike, VICE News meets the actual migrants labeled as "boat people" on the Greek island of Kos. Many of these migrants have fled the Assad regime and the Islamic State in the Middle East, only to be met with hostility as they reach the island's shores.

The Greek islands are on the new frontier of a major gateway into Europe. The eastern Mediterranean route into Greece, Cyprus, and Bulgaria from Turkey has seen more than 48,000 irregular border crossings between January and May 2015.


Kos, a small holiday island whose economy depends on tourism, is facing a refugee crisis right at the beginning of visitor season. Destitute people are sleeping rough or staying with hundreds of others in a small abandoned hotel lacking basic amenities, such as water and electricity.

While the authorities refuse to take responsibility, the migrants and refugees who want nothing more than to leave the island find themselves stuck in this desperate situation, often for weeks, waiting for the necessary legal papers to continue their journey to mainland Greece.

VICE News finds that the urgent issue is how Kos — completely unprepared to receive and process thousands of mainly Syrian and Afghan refugees that have arrived on its shores — fails to meet even the minimum EU standards for refugee reception.

Watch "Migrant Prisons of Libya: Europe or Die (Full Length)" 

Read "Fortress Europe: The Billion Dollar Machine That Keeps Migrants at Bay"