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By Yuka Tachibana

"The Walking Dead" actor David Morrissey spoke to NBC News on Thursday about his work helping save the lives of desperate refugees arriving on the shores of southern Europe.

Morrisey, who played the Governor on the hit AMC series, gave the interview after a trip to the Greek island of Lesvos with the United Nations' Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, which involved a day on the water with the local life guard.

"Some people jump in the water to get to us, some people are just so desperate that they're clinging on to the boat and they don't want to get into our boat," he said after returning from the country on Wednesday. "We got there and there was a lot of shouting, a lot of, sort of fear."

He added: "I think that image of seeing a little boat, bubbling about, frightened people in it, in the middle of the sea, that really brought it home to me."

Morrisey said things were not much better on land, describing the conditions as "disgusting" and "squalid." He also called on authorities in Europe to do more about the crisis, saying "for me, it should be leading the news agenda."

This year has seen a spike in the number of refugees attempting the dangerous journey from the Middle East and North Africa, across the Mediterranean Sea to southern European countries such as Greece and Italy.

So far in 2015, approximately 166,000 refugees and migrants arrived by sea to Europe, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency. Almost 60 percent of those arriving in Greece are from Syria, where a bloody civil war has devastated the country since 2011.