37 Photos of Recent Migrant Journeys To Inspire Solidarity and Empathy
By Alan Taylor / theatlantic.com

In record numbers, people are escaping regions plagued by warfare, instability, disasters, poverty, or systemic persecution. The United Nations announced last year that forced displacement had topped 50 million globally, and early tracking indicates that number may increase yet again this year. Multiple crises worldwide are driving the record migrations, which include Africans and Middle Easterners entering Europe, Rohingya Muslims fleeing Burma, Central Americans traveling to the U.S., civilians escaping violence in Syria, Yemen, Burundi, Somalia, Iraq, and more—all undertaking risky journeys to find better lives. Nations targeted by asylum seekers are working with the UN to address the increased number of migrants, providing humanitarian aid and encouraging solutions to the problems driving millions from their homes. The photos of the migrant journeys below were taken over the past few months.



A group of 300 sub-Saharan Africans sit on board the Italian Finance Police vessel Di Bartolo as their boat (center) is left to drift off the coast of Sicily on May 14, 2015. Around 1,100 migrants were rescued off the coast of Sicily, about 130 miles from Lampedusa, according to the police. 

Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters

Migrants sit on their belongings in the back of a truck as it is driven through a dusty road in the desert town of Agadez, Niger, on May 25, 2015. African migrants in overcrowded pickup trucks, encouraged by social media messages from friends who survived the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, set off from Agadez, an ancient trading town on the edge of the Sahara, to cross Niger in the uncertain journey towards Europe via Libya, where the collapse of the government has offered an open door for smugglers. The groups, mostly young men escaping grinding poverty in neighboring Benin or Burkina Faso, face bandits and often have to pay bribes en route, on top of the hefty payments to people smugglers.

Akintunde Akinleye / Reuters

Red Cross members help a migrant in the Sicilian harbor of Augusta, Italy, on May 31, 2015. The corpses of 17 migrants were brought ashore in Sicily aboard an Italian naval vessel along with 454 survivors as efforts intensified to rescue people fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

Antonio Parrinello / Reuters

Rohingya migrants stand and sit on a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea on May 14, 2015. The boat crammed with scores of Rohingya migrants. including many young children, was found drifting in Thai waters on May 14, according to an AFP reporter at the scene, with passengers saying several people had died over the last few days.

Christophe Archambault / AFP / Getty Images

A Rohingya boy from Burma is photographed during police identification procedures at a newly set up confinement area in Bayeun, Aceh province, after more than 400 Rohingya migrants from Burma and Bangladesh were rescued by Indonesian fishermen off the waters of the province on May 21, 2015. Boat people who have come ashore in Southeast Asia after harrowing journeys are delighted that Indonesia and Malaysia will give them temporary shelter -- although some were baffled by an offer of sanctuary in a tiny African nation they had never heard of. There was some confusion over an offer from the impoverished West African nation of Gambia to take in all Rohingya migrants as part of its "sacred duty" to alleviate the suffering of fellow Muslims.

Romeo Gacad / AFP / Getty Images

A group of Syrian migrants hide as a Greek police patrol van drives on the road next to them near the border with Macedonia in Kilkis prefecture on May 14, 2015. Hundreds of mostly Afghan, Syrian, and African immigrants cross daily from Greece into Macedonia on their way to northern European countries; most of them are turned back by Macedonian border guards.

Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

Displaced Sunni people, who fled the violence in the city of Ramadi, arrive at the outskirts of Baghdad on April 17, 2015. Iraqi security forces fought ISIS militants at the gates of the western city of Ramadi the day before.


An Iraqi soldier carries a displaced woman across the bridge on the outskirts of Baghdad on May 19, 2015. Iraqi security forces on Tuesday deployed tanks and artillery around Ramadi to confront ISIS fighters who captured the city in a major defeat for the Baghdad government and its Western backers.


Pakistani immigrants row their raft, which was drifting out of control, in rough seas between Greece and Turkey, early May 30, 2015. Ahmad, one of the immigrants aboard the raft, said that they were rowing for over five hours before eventually reaching a beach in central Kos town. According to local media, an average of over 200 immigrants have been arriving in Kos every day in the last two months.

Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

A group of Central American migrants, trying to depart Mexico, hide behind trees to avoid being seen by a train driver as they try to board a train heading to the Mexican-U.S. border, in Huehuetoca, near Mexico City, on June 1, 2015. An increasing number of Central Americans are sneaking across Mexico's border en route to the United States.

Edgard Garrido / Reuters

A Salvadoran father carries his son while running next to another migrant as they try to board a train heading to the Mexican-U.S. border, in Huehuetoca, Mexico, on June 1, 2015.

Edgard Garrido / Reuters

A Bangladeshi migrant who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, sits inside a shelter after having a haircut in Kuala Langsa, in Indonesia's Aceh Province, on May 19, 2015. United Nations agencies urged Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand on Tuesday to step up sea rescue operations and stop preventing thousands of desperate migrants from reaching land.

Beawiharta / Reuters

Migrants who were found at sea on a boat sit near Kanyin Chaung jetty after landing outside Maungdaw township, northern Rakhine state, Burma, on June 3, 2015. Burmese officials brought a boat with 727 migrants aboard to the shore in the country's western Rakhine state, after keeping the vessel at sea for days, a Reuters witness said. The migrants were found drifting in the Andaman Sea on Friday in an overloaded fishing boat that was taking on water.

Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters

Migrants crowd an inflatable dinghy as crew members from the rescue vessel " Denaro" of the Italian Coast Guard approach them, off the Libyan coast, in the Mediterranean Sea, on April 22, 2015.

Alessandro Di Meo / AP

An Italian Coast Guard officer helps a child to disembark from the Coast Guard vessel Peluso as they arrive in the Sicilian port town of Augusta on June 3, 2015. Some 406 migrants were taken to Sicily after being rescued in the Sicily Channel.

Francesco Malavolta / AP

A French policeman with a nightstick chases a migrant on the road that trucks take to reach the Channel tunnel crossing in Calais, France, on May 21, 2015.

Pascal Rossignol / Reuters

An Afghan migrant looks through a wooden fence in a factory as he prepares to make a run towards the ferry terminal in the western Greek town of Patras on May 4, 2015. Afghan, Iranian and Sudanese immigrants, living precariously in abandoned factories in Patras, southwest Greece, try to stow away on nearby ferries to Italy as they seek a better life in Europe beyond crisis-hit Greece. European Union leaders have agreed to triple funding for sea patrols, but disagreement persists on what to do with those fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and Africa. Some in Patras are recent arrivals, others have languished in the empty buildings for as long as two years.

Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

A man looks at a ferry departing from the western Greek town of Patras on May 4, 2015.

Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

Displaced Somali families help push a pick-up truck carrying personal belongings from a camp which was closed down early morning by Somali forces, leaving hundreds of families without shelter, in capital Mogadishu, Somalia, on March 4, 2015.

Feisal Omar / Reuters

Cuban migrants cook by the shore in Puerto Obaldia, Guna Yala province, 300 km southeast of Panama City, Panam, on May 14, 2015. Hundreds of Cubans cross the border from Colombia to Puerto Obaldia on boats every month, on their way to the United States.

Rodrigo Arangua / AFP / Getty Images

Immigrants sit in a cargo truck after being rescued by federal authorities at a checkpoint on a road that connects Tehuantepec and Oaxaca, in Oaxaca state, Mexico on February 19, 2015. Federal police rescued 77 immigrants, 54 of them in the state of Oaxaca and 23 in Veracruz, who were heading to the United States hidden in an overcrowded cargo truck, showing signs of dehydration, according to local media. 


A Kosovo man carries his baby as he illegally crosses the Hungarian-Serbian border near the village of Asotthalom on February 6, 2015. The European Union is experiencing a steep rise in the number of Kosovo citizens smuggling themselves into the affluent bloc, with 10,000 filing for asylum in Hungary in just one month this year compared to 6,000 for the whole of 2013. It follows a relaxation of travel rules allowing Kosovars to reach EU borders via Serbia and has coincided with political turmoil and street unrest in Kosovo fueled by poverty, high unemployment and economically debilitating corruption. 

Laszlo Balogh / Reuters

Children ride in the back of a pick-up truck with their luggage as they flee Saudi-led air strikes in Sanaa, Yemen, on April 6, 2015. 

Khaled Abdullah / Reuters

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agents patrol along the Rio Grande on the Texas-Mexico border near Rio Grande City, Texas. The agent is pointing to the shore, where one of five bodies was discovered in the water, while on patrol on February 24, 2015. 

Eric Gay / AP

Migrants aboard an Italian Coast Guard ship arrive at Pozzallo's harbor near Ragusa, Sicily, Italy, on May 19, 2015. 

Carmelo Imbesi / AP

People carry the body of a dead migrant from a merchant ship as they arrive in the Sicilian harbor of Catania, Italy, on May 5, 2015. Around forty migrants died in the Mediterranean that day, according to survivors of the journey. 

Antonio Parrinello / Reuters

French gendarmes round up and evict migrants who were living in a camp near the Channel Tunnel in Calais, northern France, on June 2, 2015. Police evicted around 140 migrants from two makeshifts camps.

Philippe Huguen / AFP / Getty Images

A Sudanese migrant sits under a trap door used to avoid police operations at an abandoned old textile factory in the southern Greek city of Patras, on May 28, 2015.

Thanassis Stavrakis / AP

A young Rohingya migrant, who arrived in Indonesia this week by boat, has her hair cut by a volunteer at a temporary shelter in Aceh Timur regency, near Langsa in Indonesia's Aceh Province, on May 24, 2015.

Darren Whiteside / Reuters

Migrants believed to be Rohingya rest inside a shelter after being rescued from boats at Lhoksukon in Indonesia's Aceh Province on May 11, 2015. Nearly 600 migrants from Burma were rescued from two wooden boats stranded off the coast of Indonesia's northern Aceh province, authorities said. The overcrowded boats, which were carrying nearly 100 women and dozens of children among the refugees, were towed to shore by fishermen after running out of fuel.

Roni Bintang / Reuters

Migrants disembark from the Italian Coast Guard ship Peluso, on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, on May 31, 2015.

Mauro Buccarello / AP

A man rescues a migrant from the Aegean sea, in the eastern island of Rhodes, on April 20, 2015. Greek authorities said that at least three people died, including a child, after a wooden boat carrying tens of migrants ran aground off the island of Rhodes.

Argiris Mantikos / AP

A cross marks a grave of an unnamed person in cemetery of migrants on the Island of Lampedusa, southern Italy, on May 14, 2015. The Coast Guard headquarters in Rome reported that over 2,200 migrants were rescued in 11 operations on May 14 alone.

Antonio Calanni / AP

Burundian refugees, fleeing violence in their country, gather on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Kagunga village, western Tanzania, as they wait for MV Liemba to transport them to Kigoma township on May 17, 2015.

Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

26-year-old Azam from South Sudan stands on rail tracks after failing to flee to Italy in the western Greek town of Patras on April 28, 2015.

Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

Afghan immigrants land on a beach on the Greek island of Kos after crossing a portion of the southeastern Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece on a raft early May 27, 2015.

Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

Immigrants who arrived on small boats from Turkey take photos on the Greek island of Kos on May 26, 2015, after hundreds of mainly Syrian and Afghan immigrants landed on the Greek island of Kos.

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37 Photos of Recent Migrant Journeys To Inspire Solidarity and Empathy