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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.

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Picking Up the Pieces in Sri Lanka

Added: 23 Nov 2005

In an unprecedented response to a natural disaster, the U.N. refugee agency – whose mandate is to protect refugees fleeing violence and persecution – has kicked off a six-month, multi-million dollar emergency relief operation to aid tsunami victims in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Somalia. UNHCR has worked in Sri Lanka for nearly 20 years and has the largest operational presence in the country with seven offices, 113 staff and a strong network of partnerships in place. The day of the tsunami, UNHCR opened up its warehouses in the island nation and began distributing existing stockpiles – including plastic sheeting, cooking sets and clothing for 100,000 people.

UNHCR estimates that some 889,000 people are now displaced in Sri Lanka, including many who were already displaced by the long-running conflict in the north. Prior to the tsunami, UNHCR assisted 390,000 people uprooted by the war. UNHCR is now expanding its logistical and warehouse capacity throughout the island to facilitate delivery of relief items to the needy populations, including in the war-affected area. The refugee agency is currently distributing relief items and funding mobile health clinics to assist the injured and sick.

Chad Mission Photo Gallery

Added: 23 Nov 2005

Adel Imam

Added: 23 Nov 2005

Bonga Camp, Ethiopia

Added: 23 Nov 2005

Bonga camp is located in the troubled Gambella region of western Ethiopia. But it remains untouched by the ethnic conflicts that have torn nearby Gambella town and Fugnido camp in the last year.

For Bonga's 17,000 Sudanese refugees, life goes on despite rumblings in the region. Refugee children continue with school and play while their parents make ends meet by supplementing UNHCR assistance with self-reliance projects.

Cultural life is not forgotten, with tribal ceremonies by the Uduk majority. Other ethnic communities – Shuluks, Nubas and Equatorians – are welcome too, judging by how well hundreds of newcomers have settled in after their transfer from Fugnido camp in late 2002.

Zalmaï. Panoramic photo gallery

Added: 23 Nov 2005

See Afghanistan through the eyes of a returning refugee as Afghan photographer Zalmaï revisits his homeland after more than 20 years in exile.

"My project tries to capture the determination and the courage of a people that has rarely known peace, their optimism against all odds, and their worry that Afghanistan could still return to the nightmarish condition it is trying to escape," says Zalmaï.

In addition to the emotional journey, this exhibition also marked an aesthetic milestone for the photographer. "I felt that now, after such a long time, there was hope again for Afghanistan. It seemed to me that colours were returning and that they would be those of a peaceful country. And so I set out to find this hope, with – for the first time – colour film in my camera."

Take a peep into this kaleidoscope of Zalmaï's Afghanistan.

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