WORLDPOST

Photos Highlight Moments Of Pain, Joy And Resilience As Global Displacement Hits Record High

There are currently 65.3 million displaced people worldwide.

21/06/2016 11:45 PM AEST | Updated June 22, 2016 04:16
© Anna Surinyach / MSF
Staying alive can be a constant struggle for war-affected people. Sometimes, there is no way out and they are trapped at the front line or in besieged areas under the bombs. Others manage to flee through dangerous routes putting their lives in danger, just to end up facing closed borders or surviving in IDP camps under inhuman conditions.

A staggering 65.3 million people are currently displaced worldwide, the U.N. refugee agency reported Monday. Three countries -- Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia -- are producing half of the world’s refugees.

The UNHCR reports that "global forced displacement is disproportionately affecting young lives." Around half of the world’s refugees are children, many of them separated from their families.

Meanwhile, rising anti-immigration discourse in Europe threatens the continued reception and integration of refugees and migrants in host countries.

“Yet, there is cause for hope,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in a statement marking World Refugee Day on Monday.

“In contrast to the toxic narrative repeatedly played out in the media we have often witnessed an outpouring of generosity; by host communities, by individuals, and by families opening their homes." 

World Refugee Day is an opportunity to highlight the humanity and resilience of people forced to flee war, conflict, poverty and persecution.

The humanitarian aid group Doctors Without Borders selected selected these photos, which capture some of the people who've faced extraordinary survival obstacles. Within these photos are moments of joy and pain on the journey toward safety. 

  • July 2015
    © Georgios Makkas/Panos Pictures
    A Syrian baby lays on the ground in Kara Tepe camp, Lesbos. The baby’s family cannot even afford milk. “I am here with my family. We are part of a 19-person team from Syria. We all sleep in a tent," the 26-year-old father of baby Deshevan says. "Everywhere you see dirty water and trash. There is no running water, only a small tap from which we drink water and wash. There are no responsible people to give us information and we don’t know what to do. No authority, no police, no information, nothing.”
  • July 2015
    © Alessandro Penso
    Refugees from Iraq arrive with low-quality plastic dinghies on the shores of the Greek island of Kos. They were forced to row the boat for six hours from Bodrum, Turkey.
  • August 2015
    © Mikael Mangold/MSF
    Tensions rise inside and outside Kos Municipal Stadium. Thousands of refugees have no information on the registration procedure and are left trapped for more than 24 hours, without food.
  • September 2015
    © Alva White/MSF
    Five-year-old Atnan is from Aleppo. He sleeps on the ground in a Kos town with his mother, father, grandparents, younger sister and the family's four-month-old baby. A bomb hit their house almost 18 months ago. Atnan was alone in a room and was severely injured. His aunt and two cousins were killed in the explosion and his mother suffered serious burns.
  • September 2015
    © Georgios Makkas/Panos Pictures
    Doctors Without Borders surgeon Dimitris Giannousis plays football with children refugees at the Greek port of Lesbos. “These children experience what is happening in silence, and then it manifests in the form of psychosomatic illness,” he says.
  • September 2015
    ©Borja Ruiz Rodriguez/MSF
    Predicting the need for temporary accommodation and protection from harsh winter weather conditions, a team from Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, sets up the first tent at the Idomeni camp on Greece's northern border with Macedonia.
  • September 2015
    © Borja Ruiz Rodriguez/MSF
    A young man crosses the border to Idomeni, Greece. His friends carried him on their shoulders from the islands to the border.
  • October 2015
    © Alessandro Penso
    An Afghan refugee wears a plastic garbage bag to protect himself from the storm at Moria camp in Lesbos, as he waits for his documents to be processed.
  • October 2015
    © Alessandro Penso
    European leaders open the first Greek “hotspot” center at Moria. However, refugees have limited access to food, water and hygiene facilities. Most of them have no choice but to sleep outside the camp, where they are at risk of illnesses.
  • November 2015
    © Alex Yallop/MSF
    The borders close for the first time for people who have not come from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. Refugees from Iran protest at Idomeni, near Greece's border with Macedonia.
  • November 2015
    © Will Rose
    MSF and Greenpeace begin a common operation at sea to provide help to at-risk boats off the shores of Lesbos.
  • November 2015
    © Aurelie Baumel/MSF
    Refugees take a minute to relax at a port on the Greek island of Samos, near Turkey.
  • November 2015
    © Aurelie Baumel/MSF
    A boat arrives at the north shore of Samos. People on the boat are mainly Afghans. A few are Iranian.
  • December 2015
    © Will Rose
    More than 800,000 refugees crossed the Aegean Sea to find shelter in Europe in 2015. The journeys are hard and perilous, especially during the winter. One of the necessary tools for the MSF teams that conduct rescue operations in the Aegean with Greenpeace are isothermal blankets. Many of those rescued have hypothermia and are in urgent need of medical attention.
  • December 2015
    © Will Rose
    MSF and Greenpeace teams rush to the waters off Lesbos, where a wooden boat filled with refugees capsized. Frontex, Sea Watch and Proactiva launch a major operation to save the refugees, who are stranded in the water. In total, they saved 83 people. An 80-year-old man and a baby drowned.
  • December 2015
    © Will Rose
    Rescued women are wrapped in isothermal blankets for warmth and to stop them from contracting hypothermia.
  • January 2016
    © Florian Asis Schulz/MSF / Greenpeace
    A send a powerful New Year’s message from Lesbos. MSF and Greenpeace teams make the peace sign out of 3,000 life jackets on a hill.
  • January 2016
    © Konstantinos Tsakalidis/SOOC
    Hundreds of thousands of people reach the “Beautiful Gate,” as they often call the wired border door on the Greek-Macedonia border. 
  • January 2016
    ©Alessandro Penso/MSF/Greenpeace
    A young girl from Afghanistan plays with her little brother at the MSF temporary accommodation camp in Mantamados, right after their arrival in Lesbos.
  • February 2016
    © Georgios Makkas
    A boy at Victoria station in Athens, Greece, shows pictures from his sea crossing with a boat on his phone.
  • February 2016
    ©Konstantinos Tsakalidis/SOOC
    The borders of Macedonia close for Afghan refugees.
  • March 2016
    © Gemma Gillie/MSF
    After the new European Union-Turkey deal, borders shut permanently for Syrian and Iraqi refugees as well. A Syrian girl in Idomeni holds a sign saying: “EU-Turkey: we are not merchandise.”
  • March 2016
    © Mohammad Ghannam/MSF
    Refugees attend English language classes at the port of Piraeus in Attica, Greece.
  • March 2016
    © Mohammad Ghannam/MSF
    After the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, refugees who reach the Greek islands are now sent to detention centers, among them women, babies, and dozens of unaccompanied minors.
  • March 2016
    © Mohammad Ghannam/MSF
    Ibrahim left Syria in the hope of finding the medical treatment he needs. He is detained at the Samos hotspot center.
  • May 2016
    ©Rocco Rorandelli/Terra Project
    More than 3,000 children are vaccinated in order to shield them against diseases.
  • May 2016
    © Laetitia Martin/MSF
    The camp of Elliniko in Athens hosts more than 3,500 refugees, most of them from Afghanistan.
  • May 2016
    © Amir Karimi/MSF
    Authorities evacuate the makeshift camp of Idomeni.
  • May 2016
    ©Jodi Hilton/Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
    A woman cries in a gas station near Idomeni camp during the evacuation operation.

This piece was originally published on HuffPost Greece and has been translated into English. 

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