Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has invited mayors of eastern Aegean islands bearing the brunt of the current refugee influx to Athens for an emergency meeting on how to deal with the crisis.
The meeting, scheduled for midday Friday, was also to be attended by the north and south Aegean regional governors as well as mayors and religious officials from the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Kos, Leros and Chios, and government officials.
Greece is the main gateway into the European Union for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty at home. The vast majority arrive after a short but dangerous sea journey to Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast and then head to the mainland and on to more prosperous northern EU countries through the Balkans.
Hundreds have drowned, including many children, when their overcrowded and unseaworthy boats have sunk or capsized.