It is the children that provide the most haunting images of a refugee crisis which threatens to spiral out of control.
Migrants fleeing war zones in the Middle East and Africa, most notably Syria, for what they hope will be a better life in western Europe are part of what the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees says is the worst refugee crisis the world has seen since World War II. Nearly 300,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year and of that number 181,500 have made their way into Greece and 108,500 to Italy.
They are fleeing a brutal conflict in Syria that began more than four years ago.
The migrants make their way by boat, often at the behest of people smugglers charging extortionate amounts, to Greece and then by foot, or by bus and train through Macedonia, Serbia and then onwards to western Europe.
According to The Guardian the latest bottleneck is in Hungary, where refugees are continuing their journey north despite efforts by the government to stop them. More than 2000 migrants were detained by police in Hungary on Monday, the highest figure so far this year.
Hungary says it will look to seal its border with Serbia with a four metre high, 175km long barrier to keep out migrants who have been fleeing persecution by streaming through the Balkans.
Last week Macedonia, which sits just above Greece, declared a state of emergency and closed its borders after being overwhelmed by the huge influx of people.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have called for a unified system by all of the countries in the European Union for the right to asylum, and the setting up of reception centres in Greece and Italy.
According to World Vision nearly 12 million Syrians have been displaced by the fighting and of that more than 1.6 million are children. Of that number about four million are understood to have fled Syria for surrounding countries and Europe, the rest are displaced within Syria.
The children bear the brunt of massive risks taken to escape conflict and are threatened with the risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited.