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Greek Photographers Win Pulitzer Prize With These Haunting Images Of Refugee Crisis

"Their voice was heard through our photographs and our stories," said Pulitzer winner Yannis Behrakis.

21/04/2016 7:08 AM AEST | Updated 21/04/2016 7:08 AM AEST
Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
Photographers working for Reuters and the New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the refugee crisis in Greece. This photo by Yannis Behrakis shows a Syrian refugee kissing his daughter as he walks to the Greece-Macedonia border.

Two teams of photographers working for The New York Times and Reuters received the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography on Monday for documenting the journeys of migrants and refugees.

The photographers followed hundreds of thousands of people traveling from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to Europe over the past year, shining a light on the harsh realities of the trip and the thin line between hope and desperation along the way.

Among the winners were Yannis Behrakis, Alkis Konstantinidis and Alexandros Avramidis, three Greeks working for Reuters who captured the fight for survival within their own country's borders. Their work took them from the shores of the Aegean islands to the port of Piraeus to the Greece-Macedonia border.

Behrakis, an award-winning photographer who serves as Reuters' chief photographer in Greece, wrote on his Facebook page that this is the first time Greece is taking home a Pulitzer. He said he’s proud of sharing the prize with two younger colleagues he considers to be his students. 

With many personal sacrifices we achieved what we wanted, which was to become the voice of these people that come to this dot of land in the Aegean, seeing it as their last hope,” Behrakis told Athens News Agency. “The people on the islands welcomed them, showed them love and us journalists, who were there a very long time, finally became [like] life vests for them. Their voice was heard through our photographs and our stories."

The photographers' Pulitzer-winning images for Reuters can be seen below. Please note that some of them may be disturbing to viewers.

  • Alexandros Avramidis/Reuters
    A Macedonian police officer in the Greek border town of Idomeni raises his baton to stop migrants from entering Macedonia on Aug. 22, 2015.
  • Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
    An overcrowded raft carrying Syrian refugees drifts in the Aegean Sea after its motor broke down off the Greek island of Kos on Aug. 11, 2015.
  • Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
    An Afghan migrant jumps off an overcrowded raft onto the Greek island of Lesbos on Oct. 19, 2015.
  • Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
    A Syrian refugee holds onto his children as he struggles to walk off a dinghy after crossing from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos on Sept. 24, 2015.
  • Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
    Amoun, a blind 70-year-old refugee who lived in the town of Aleppo in Syria, rests on a beach moments after landing on the Greek island of Kos with 40 other people on Aug. 12, 2015.
  • Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
    An Afghan migrant looks out a bus window after reaching the port of Piraeus in Greece. He and 2,500 other migrants arrived by passenger ferry from the island of Lesbos on Oct. 8, 2015.
  • Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
    Migrants and refugees near Idomeni, Greece, beg Macedonian police to allow them across the border during a rainstorm on Sept. 10, 2015.
  • Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
    Syrian refugees walk through the mud as they cross the border from Greece into Macedonia on Sept. 10, 2015.
  • Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
    A Syrian refugee kisses his daughter as he walks through a rainstorm towards Greece's border with Macedonia on Sept. 10, 2015.
  • Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
    A Syrian refugee holding a baby swims toward shore after their dinghy deflated off the coast of Lesbos, Greece, on Sept. 13, 2015.
  • Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
    A Syrian refugee tries to catch his breath as he stands in a crowded line to register at a stadium on the Greek island of Kos on Aug. 12, 2015.

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