Continuous work on the ongoing refugee situation...
A group of more than 40 refugees, cramped into a rubber dinghy made for ten, approaches the northern coast of Lesvos after four hours at sea. As for so many others, they have run out of petrol in the middle of the ocean. Despite the high sums paid, the smugglers have not provided them with enough fuel. Some of the young men have jumped into the water, trying to steer the boat in the right direction towards the greek island. Of the 850,000 refugees who made it to Greece in 2015, more than half came through Lesvos. It became the deadliest year so far for people crossing the Mediterranean sea, with almost 4,000 deaths.
Rami have just arrived to the shores of Lesvos, together with his two children.
Syrian refugees trying to keep warm, waiting for dawn.
A group of Syrian, Afghan and Pakistani refugees are crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary
Refugees are being handed over to Hungarian authorities by Croatian police. Hungary itself refuses to let anyone stay and the refugees will therefor be driven to the Austrian border, which at this point is still open.
A group of Afghan refugees have just crossed the Hungarian border from Serbia. Minutes after they are stopped and apprehended by self-appointed border patrols, who are in contact with the Hungarian police.
Milad Ali, 34, lost his right arm and his left eye in the Syrian regime's bombardment of the city of Hama. For over $ 4000, he managed to get to Lesvos from Turkey in a rubber dinghy, along with his wife and their two youngest children. The two eldest sons had to stay behind in Syria, the money was not enough to bring the whole family.
– In the middle of the sea we ran out of petrol. Some had to jump in the water to steer the boat in the right direction, he says.
Ali is dreaming if a new life in Germany.
– Europe is fantastic, with its democracy and freedom. Here my children can go to school. And perhaps I could even get a prosthesis for my arm.
Two Afghan refugees are being apprehended by Greek police in Athens
On route towards the Macedonian border, with their belongings in plastic bags.
Abed Abd-Alrzak prays, while others light a fire to keep warm. The border between Greece and Macedonia is closed, leaving refugees in limbo. The make shift camp in Idomeni is already overcrowded. With little money families share tents, in which women and children take turn sleeping. The men will spend the night outside, while temperatures are dropping to freezing.
The closing of the border between Greece and Macedonia leaves people in limbo, creating a humanitarian crisis.
After weeks stuck in the make shift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border, the frustration is growing.
Shamsi, together with her children, have just arrived to the makeshift refugee camp in Idomeni, in northern Greece. Just days earlier, Macedonia closed its border. Over 10 000 people are stuck in a sort of no man's land. Stuck in what the UNHCR describes as a humanitarian catastrophe. The camp is overcrowded and the family is forced to sleep outside, while the temperature drops to zero celsius.
Twilight in the makeshift refugee camp in Idomeni. During the year more and more countries choose to close its borders and the crossing between Greece and Macedonia becomes a humanitarian disaster. Hope turns to despair when Europe's seemingly open heart is being replaced with barbed wire and armed military. The temperature drops to near freezing and people are forced to sleep under the open sky. Just a few hundred meters away is the border to Macedonia and the dream of a step closer to safety.
Croatian police are handing over refugees to the Hungarian authorities
During the last two weeks Nasim has crossed the Mediterranean, been imprisoned in Greece, waited in a Hungarian refugee camp, travelled on cramped buses and trains in Macedonia and Serbia. On the train towards Budapest, the dream about a new life in Germany feels within reach.
Söderhamn, Sweden. A camping has been turned into a temporary accommodation for asylum seekers. For most of the children it is the first time the see snow.
In 2015 over 160 000 refugees came to Sweden and the country is now struggling with its slow bureaucratic asylum process, leaving many in frustration not knowing if they get to stay or will be sent back to the country they once fled.
Winter keeps a firm grip of the area and light snow has begun to fall. This does not prevent a group of refugees from playing volleyball in the yard. They take every opportunity to pass the time while waiting for a decision of residence permit. In 2015 over 160 000 refugees came to Sweden and the country is now struggling with its slow bureaucratic asylum process, leaving many in frustration not knowing if they get to stay or will be sent back to the country they once fled.
It is when the lights go out at night and when the sound of the TV fall silent, that the memories come alive. That’s when the anxiety becomes strongest. “I am fortunate that I am alive, no one should have to go through what I have gone through, says Alireza, who fled Syria and now lives in a shelter for unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Sweden.