09 Lesbos, Greece (October 25, 2015)
One million asylum seekers, many of them refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, crossed to Europe by sea in 2015. Half of these came via the Greek island of Lesbos, which is located in the Aegean Sea and has a resident population of about 86,000 people.
Wanting to keep to a tight budget, I did not rent a car like many journalists covering the migrant crisis on Lesbos. I had only one day to work on the island’s north coast and gambled that I would be able to hitch a ride from the town where I stayed to the beaches where boats would likely land. It turned out to be not as easy I had hoped, but in time a van of three Norwegians gave me a lift, and many of the pictures I took this day are thanks to their vehicular hospitality.
They had arrived the night before from Norway, and I asked why they had come. The man who drove the van and is seen carrying the girl in this picture — I no longer remember his name — answered something like this: “I watch the news like everyone else. You watch it and you see that there is a crisis and then you ask yourself if you can do anything to help. The answer is yes, you can help. Next I called my friends and said we need to respond to this tragedy. Each one agreed. We booked a ticket, took time off work, and here we are.”
- Joel Carillet
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