Thousands brave the cold to cross sea to Greece

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Thousands brave the cold to cross sea to Greece
In this Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016 photo, a woman carries her young boy inside the Souda camp for refugees and migrants in front of the stone wall of the castle of Chios island , Greece . The 800-person camp placed in the dry moat of Chios townâs medieval castle began operating in early November 2015.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016 photo, an Afghan couple use a blanket to calm their baby inside the Souda camp in Chios island , Greece. Despite the bitter winter cold and rough seas, tens of thousands of men, women and children fleeing violence and poverty in their homelands continue to risk their lives to make the relatively short but dangerous journey from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands, seeking a better future in Europe. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016 photo, Afghan migrants look on a smart phone inside the Souda camp as on the background is seen the stone wall of the castle of Chios island. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 photo, an Afghan man squats after his arrival , from Turkey to the shores of the Greek island of Chios, on an dinghy crammed with refugees and migrants.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 photo, an Afghan man with his daughter walks after they receive a wristband tags at Tabakika registration center, Chios island, Greece. The island now has a functioning system which aims to process new arrivals through registration as fast and as painlessly as possible. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 photo, refugees wait their turn at the Tabakika registration center, Chios island, Greece. Despite the bitter winter cold and rough seas, tens of thousands of men, women and children fleeing violence and poverty in their homelands continue to risk their lives to make the relatively short but dangerous journey from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands, seeking a better future in Europe. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 photo, two Afghan young women wait to be registered in the Tabakika registration center Chios island , Greece. Despite the bitter winter cold and rough seas, tens of thousands of men, women and children fleeing violence and poverty in their homelands continue to risk their lives to make the relatively short but dangerous journey from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands, seeking a better future in Europe. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 photo, refugees and migrants who have arrived from Turkey at the shore of the deserted Greek island of Pasas wait for the Coast Guard to transport them to the nearby Oinousses island. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 photo, newly arrived migrants and refugees use ropes to scramble up a hill from a tiny beach on the deserted Greek island of Pasas they were driven by a smuggler. The smuggler ignored the searchlight, the shouts and the warning shots fired by the Greek coast guard, deftly navigating his small white vessel the shore (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 photo, an Afghan boy asks for help to climb a rock leading to the main road after arriving on a dinghy from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Chios. Despite the bitter winter cold and rough seas, tens of thousands of men, women and children fleeing violence and poverty in their homelands continue to risk their lives to make the relatively short but dangerous journey from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands, seeking a better future in Europe. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
in this Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 photo, a Syrian man with one leg walks at the Greek deserted island of Pasas after he arrived with others from Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 photo, a Syrian woman with her children takes a shelter in a iron box during a rainfall after they arrived from Turkey to the Greek deserted island of Pasas near Chios on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 . (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this early Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 photo, Afghan refugees disembark from a dinghy after crossing a part of the Aegean sea from Turkish coast to the Greek island of Chios. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
In this Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 photo, refugees and migrants warm up their selves above a makeshift fire after they arrived from Turkey to the Greek deserted island of Pasas near Chios. More than 850,000 people entered Greece by sea in 2015, according to the UNHCR. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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CHIOS, Greece (AP) — The seas are rough and cold. The wind is bitter. The overcrowded smugglers' boats are far from seaworthy, with many unable even to make it across a few miles of water — and the bodies of those who drown as the boats sink are fished out of the churning seas day by day.

Yet tens of thousands of men, women and children fleeing violence and poverty in their homelands continue to risk their lives this winter to make the relatively short but dangerous journey from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands, seeking a better future in Europe.

Boats carrying dozens of asylum-seekers reach the eastern Aegean island of Chios and the nearby deserted island of Pasas each night. Many land on rocky, inaccessible parts of the coast, forcing the new arrivals to scramble up steep inclines or cliffs, sometimes with the help of ropes.

Those who land on Pasas must wait until morning, warming themselves around fires, until the Greek coast guard can come to ferry them off to Chios and the migrant registration center.

There they go through a screening and fingerprinting process before being given registration documents and catching ferries or flights to the Greek mainland. Then the migrants continue their journey through the Balkans toward more prosperous European countries.

More than 850,000 people, most fleeing conflict in Syria and Afghanistan, entered Greece by sea in 2015, according to the UNHCR. Already in 2016, 35,455 people have arrived despite plunging winter temperatures and days of stormy weather.

Greece Under Pressure to Act on Refugees

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