Every day this year, thousands of refugees have made the dangerous journey from their war-torn homelands to Europe. Many arrive without food or money; many are children. And as politiciansdebate whether or not these migrants can find refuge from persecution, volunteers are working to provide them with basic care. Al Jazeera reports that many of these volunteers are Europeans on vacation, and they fill in the gaps while larger organizations, like the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, mount a more formal response. “It gets to a certain point where you can’t just watch and wait anymore,” Polly Rola, an Austrian who travelled to a remote village of Croatia to help, said to the news service. “We had some time and some money, so here we are.”
A Dutch volunteer tries to comfort a migrant moments after arriving aboard a raft at a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos on October 23, 2015.
A migrant woman is helped by volunteers after arriving by an overcrowded dinghy on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast to Lesbos on October 10, 2015.
Migrants disembark from the Norwegian ship Siem Pilot as they are helped by a volunteer, center, at the Sicilian harbor of Catania, Italy, on August 17, 2015. The Siem Pilot pulled into the port of Catania on Monday carrying 49 migrant bodies believed to have suffocated in the water-logged hold of a fishing boat and some 416 migrants rescued at sea.
A volunteer helps Syrian refugee carry one of his two children off an overcrowded dinghy at a beach after crossing part of the Aegean Sea from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos on September 23, 2015.
In this Saturday, November 7, 2015 photo, dentist Raid Ali, center right, and his colleague Aliyo Rashid Taylor, center left, treat migrants with toothache inside France’s biggest refugee camp near Calais, northern France. Improvised clinics have appeared from nowhere in the Calais’ migrant camp, where medical care for an estimated 6,000 people depends on volunteers from several countries.
Volunteer doctors and paramedics try to revive a baby after a boat carrying more than 200 refugees and migrants sunk while crossing part of the Aegean sea from Turkey, on the Greek island of Lesbos, October 28, 2015. According to the Greek Coast Guard, 3 bodies were recovered and 242 people were rescued, without clarifying how many people were onboard.
Turkish volunteers living in Berlin give away water bottles and snacks to migrants queuing at the compound outside the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs as they wait for their registration in Berlin, Germany, on September 21, 2015.
A volunteer lifeguard, left, helps a refugee as a half-sunken catamaran carrying around 150 refugees, most of them Syrians, arrives after crossing part of the Aegean sea from Turkey on the Greek island of Lesbos on October 30, 2015.
A volunteer carries a young boy onto the Greek island of Lesbos after a boat with refugees and migrants sank while crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey, on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, causing multiple fatalities. The condition of the child is not known.