Putting Our Work into Focus
A picture tells a thousand words - and UNHCR has more than 250,000 of them dating back decades. The agency's photo library in Geneva is guardian of the world's largest collection of refugee-related photos covering nearly all of the major displacements of the last 60 years. These images provide a comprehensive portrait of the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people and the stateless in all corners of the globe, as well as the work of the thousands of UN staff who have helped them. Many of our best photos are showcased on this website and on the social networking site, Flickr. We offer the use of our photos free to the media.
Yemeni Province Starts Rebuilding as 100,000 Displaced Return
Life is slowly returning to normal in urban and rural areas of the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, where fighting between government forces and rebels caused major population displacements in 2011 and 2012.
But since last July, as hostilities subsided and security began to improve, more than 100,000 internally displaced people (IDP) have returned to their homes in the province, or governorate. Most spent more than a year in temporary shelters in neighbouring provinces such as Aden and Lahj.
Today, laughing children once more play without fear in the streets of towns like the Abyan capital, Zinjibar, and shops are reopening. But the damage caused by the conflict is visible in many areas and the IDPs have returned to find a lack of basic services and livelihood opportunities as well as lingering insecurity in some areas.
There is frustration about the devastation, which has also affected electricity and water supplies, but most returnees are hopeful about the future and believe reconstruction will soon follow. UNHCR has been providing life-saving assistance since the IDP crisis first began in 2011, and is now helping with the returns.
Amira Al Sharif, a Yemeni photojournalist, visited Abyan recently to document life for the returnees.
Keeping Occupied in Turkey's Adiyaman camp for Syrian Refugees
Since the conflict in Syria erupted in April 2011, the government of neighbouring Turkey has established 17 camps in eight provinces to provide safety and shelter to tens of thousands of refugees - three-quarters of them women and children. The camps, including Adiyaman depicted here, provide a place to live and address the basic physical needs of the residents, but they also provide access to health care, education, vocational training and other forms of psychosocial support.
UNHCR teams are present on a regular basis in all the refugee camps and provide technical assistance to the Turkish authorities on all protection-related concerns, including registration, camp management, specific needs and vulnerabilities, and voluntary repatriation. UNHCR has contributed tents, cooking facilities and other relief items. The refugee agency is also working with the government to help an estimated 100,000 Syrian urban refugees. It will continue its material and technical support to help the authorities cope with an increase in arrivals. The following images of camp life were taken by American photographer, Brian Sokol, in Adiyaman camp, located in Turkey's Gaziantep province. At the start of February 2013, nearly 10,000 Syrian refugees were living in the camp.
Enormous Challenges Faced by Mali's Urban Displaced
Over the past year, the conflict in northern Mali has forced more than 228,000 people to seek refuge in other parts of the country - including some 51,000 who have fled to Bamako, the capital. Without the support networks and other resources they left behind, internally displaced Malians face enormous challenges. High rents in Bamako, for example, compel many of the uprooted to seek shelter in crowded apartments far from the city centre. Limited access to health care, clean water and education makes their situation even more precarious.
Finding work is also incredibly difficult in a new environment where job opportunities typically come through personal or family connections. And so, in suburban neighbourhoods like Sangarébougou, farmers and animal herders now sit idly in unfamiliar apartments, and teachers struggle to find new posts even though local schools are overcrowded.
Hopes of returning home soared in recent weeks as French troops drove the separatists out of population centres like Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu. Yet northern Mali is still far from safe and secure. Until it is, many displaced Malians will struggle on in Bamako.
Mali: Caution prevails as displaced families contemplate return home
While the situation in the north of Mali remains volatile, some displaced families have decided to return to their homes. After using public transportation to reach Mopti, they set off by boat on a two-day journey in order to reach Timbuktu. The majority of those displaced say they will wait to see how the security and humanitarian situation evolves before returning to their homes. The conflict in northern Mali has forced 241,000 people to flee their homes for safer locations elsewhere in the country.
UNHCR humanitarian aid convoy reaches IDPs in Syria
The UN refugee agency at the end of January completed a first delivery of winter emergency relief to the Azzas area of northern Syria, where thousands of internally displaced people are living in makeshift camps, as well as to the Kerama camp. An eight-truck convoy transported 2,000 tents and 15,000 blankets from Latakia on the Syrian coast to an area between Aleppo and the Syrian-Turkish border. The recipients were delighted with the aid after months of suffering. The operation was possible thanks to the logistics support of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the agreement and cooperation of the Syrian government and facilitation by the Syrian National Coalition. This allowed the convoy to safely reach people in need, in a strictly humanitarian and non-political operation. In early February, almost 790,000 Syrians in neighbouring countries were either registered as refugees or awaiting registration. A further 4 million people inside Syria were affected by the crisis, including an estimated 2.5 million internally displaced people.