Yannis Behrakis named best refugee photographer

The European refugee crisis this year has been the worst and the plight of the asylum seekers reached billions of home this year thanks to photographers like Yannis Behrakis, whom The Guardian has named as the best photographer of the year. Here is what he himself said of some of the images he shot
Yannis Behrakis named best refugee photographer
Image credit: Yannis Behrakis


Yannis’ Behrakis’ story 
I have been covering refugees and migrants for over 25 years. The difference this time was that migrants were arriving in my homeland. A couple of boats arrived every night. Everybody aboard was scared as they didn’t know how the police and locals would react. Small dinghies kept on arriving, even when the weather was rough. The Turkish coast was just 4-5 km away.
Fear factor 
To start with the migrants were scared, unsure. They arrived overnight because they were hiding. Each time they saw a photographer or a local they thought it was the police about to arrest them. Sometimes they got frightened and even “surrendered” occasionally, lifting their arms. I shouted welcome to reassure them. Once on land they started laughing and giving “high fives”. The atmosphere was charged with emotion. Nobody expected there would be so many of them. The local community wasn’t prepared but most Greeks have some refugee blood and locals realised that these people only wanted to use Greece as a stepping-stone to move north. There were families including children and old women. So people thought, “We need to help them”.
Human Rush
  • Over 60 million, or one out of 122 people worldwide sought asylum in first half of 2015
  • By June, 20.2 million people became refuges, a 45-per cent jump since 2011. 
  • Between Jan-June this year, an average 4,600 people became refugees daily
  • Syrians (50%), Afghans (20%), Iraqis (7%) are the top three nationalities seeking refuge this year
  • Over 60% of asylum seekers are men Refugee numbers equal 24th populous state in the world

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