Dangerous Sea, Lesvos, Greece

A joint operation to rescue people risking their lives on the dangerous sea crossing between Turkey and Greece was launched by international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and environmental organisation Greenpeace in the winter of 2015. More than 856,000 refugees and migrants arrived by sea or land in Greece in 2015, making it the main entry point for people attempting to reach Europe. Volunteers and civil society organisations mobilized to help new arrivals, and MSF provided healthcare. A third of the people landing on Greece’s shores were women and children. Approximately 91 per cent came from countries affected by war and violence – predominantly Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. Most disembarked on the islands of Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Kos and Leros. On Lesbos alone, as many as 6,000 people were arriving each day in October.

Photographer Will Rose joined the MSF and Greenpeace teams using three rigid hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) based on the northern coast of Lesbos in support and coordinated by the Greek Coastguard. MSF medical teams were on standby at landing sites to provide emergency care for people in a critical condition and to ensure timely referrals to the hospital by three MSF ambulances, boosting the efforts of volunteer groups already providing assistance to people crossing to the Greek islands.