Welcome mat fraying as more migrants reach Greek island

August 18, 2015 4:05 PM

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Welcome mat fraying as more migrants reach Greek island

LEROS, Greece -- The islanders bring food, drinks, clothing and necessities like diapers and toothpaste to the migrants huddled on this tiny outcrop in the Aegean Sea. The generosity comes naturally to residents of Leros: The island once took in political prisoners banished here by Greece's former military rulers, a tradition that breeds a sense of duty to welcome migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

A dedicated grass-roots network is the heart of Leros' mission to be a paragon of humanitarian relief. But it is becoming a victim of its own success: Migrant arrivals are surging as asylum-seekers catch wind of the islanders' generosity -- and the welcome mat is starting to fray.

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