All the women talked to her out loud. They called her Hajje. His ears weren’t the old ones. I did not know her age. He had to flee in 2003 and returned to Tawila, his hometown, years later. She wore the bearing of a great lady. That day he had not eaten or drunk milk or tea. She was sitting, waiting her turn at a Médecins Sans Frontières mobile clinic on the outskirts of Tawila. She spoke slowly, cowering in her memories, and she kept looking and smiling
In 2016, more than 300,000 people had sought refuge in the city of Diffa, fleeing the conflict in neighboring Nigeria or from villages in the region, mainly situated along the border, who had been attacked or were under threat of attacks. Nobody wanted to live in rural areas or in smaller cities. In the absence of other organizations in inaccessible areas, MSF considered offering primary and secondary care to the population. Access to health facilities and free services continued to be the most important challenges
After traveling hundreds of kilometers, thousands of refugees, mostly Syrians, are desperately trying to cross the border between Serbia and Hungary through the Röszke-Horgoš pass. The Hungarian Border Police would prevent it with great violence. An MSF medical team treated numerous bruised and injured people. (Röszke-Horgoš, border of Hungary with Serbia, 2015).
Barakat gives birth to her little boy in Mejo, Ethiopia.
Another moment of Barakat’s delivery.
They escaped from Mushaki when rebel militias attacked the village and killed several neighbors. Almost 700 people had come to this makeshift camp a couple of months ago, fleeing from Laurent Nkunda’s militias. On the volcanic soil, they had been able to plant manioc, peas, and something else. The conditions in this makeshift camp were really harsh. The field called Hewa Bora stood for much longer than the fighting lasted in that part of the Congo. (Goma, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2008).
Highway from Piedras Negras to Nuevo Laredo. Despite the regularization of asylum in the United States, thousands of migrants continue to suffer and live in terrible conditions in Mexico. Migration policies have never been applied that guarantee the protection and humanitarian assistance needed by populations in transit to the United States. (Piedras Negras, Coahuila, border of Mexico with the United States, 2019).
It was a nutritional emergency in an area of Ethiopia where malnutrition is already endemic. Drought and locust plagues had once again left all the land in the region barren, and the crops had ceased to be. It didn’t rain and if it did, everything was flooded. Numerous mothers were milling around the doors of the nutritional center, but the image suddenly appeared. A father carried his son in his arms. I was surprised. It was not the usual thing, although the most striking thing was his look. His name was Abebaye and the boy, Basada Moti. I returned to the region after a while and visited them in their village. (Oromia, Ethiopia, 2008).
I had to run, a lot, to capture this image. We were vaccinating in a small school in Upper Katanga, an old mining area, when suddenly the room was full. It was one of those times when it is difficult to have a broad vision of the situation. Suddenly, Pau Miranda, my traveling companion, came in screaming and gesturing for me to leave. I got out as best I could and ran after him. In a matter of seconds, I realized: a line of schoolchildren singing through those lands. I had to find the big shot and hurry, because they wouldn’t stop. His martial gait almost knocked me out. Then we introduce ourselves. (Dikuluy, Upper Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2015).
On April 3, IDF forces stormed the former refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin. The Israeli tanks destroyed everything. In two months, according to city hospital records, 52 Palestinians died. During the attacks, which lasted 15 days, more than 150 buildings were destroyed, leaving hundreds of families homeless. (Jenin, Occupied Palestinian Territories, 2002).
During the Mozambique floods, in the vast majority of trips, the helicopter carried logistical and medical supplies, although it sometimes also served as an ambulance. On more than one occasion, in a small hospital or in an isolated health center, we find injured people in critical condition. There were no medical personnel as, with rising water, local health teams were unable to travel by road. (Beira, Mozambique, 2000).
At the beginning of 2004, the tragedy in Darfur was aggravating by leaps and bounds. MSF sent a team to this hot Sudanese region. After sharing a table and teas for a few months, I became a colleague of one of the people in charge of the city’s Traffic Police. We understood each other in horrible Italian. In his civilian life, he was a cunning animal trader. One stormy day, I accompanied him to the camel market. (Darfur, Sudan, 2004).
In Bouca, MSF teams had to be evacuated after receiving serious threats from the armed groups that controlled the area. They witnessed attacks against the population, summary executions, assassinations, attacks with machetes and entire neighborhoods burned. Thousands of people hid and sought refuge in the forests and fields surrounding their villages. They did not dare to return, for fear of revenge and repression. The situation was complicated by the arrival of the rainy season and the proliferation of mosquitoes. When MSF returned to the health centers and the displaced people returned, it was found that a large part of the children and adults had fallen ill with malaria. (Bouca, Central African Republic, 2013).
Due to the almost complete disappearance of the health system, the presence of humanitarian organizations in the Central African Republic was essential, both to meet general medical needs and to respond to the high risk of crises related to malaria, child malnutrition or epidemics. There have been several visits that I have made over the years to the MSF hospital in Batangafo, which, for the populations we work with, has been and continues to be a place of reference throughout the country, despite the escalations of violence, coups and conflicts. (Batangafo, Central African Republic, 2013).
After returning from a report, the journalist Juanjo Millás wrote: «In each house, a worn folder holds papers from a kidnapping, a torture, a disappearance; It is the madness that is breathed in the Indian state of Kashmir. Before 1989, about 6,000 patients with mental illness were registered each year. Twenty years later, there were more than 100,000. The Srinagar specialized hospital had a women’s ward, where a team of MSF psychologists worked. The plastic arts were a fundamental part of the treatment. (Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India, 2009).
A few days after the fall of the Taliban in Kabul, we landed in Bagram with a shipment of material to open a project in the center of the country. While we were managing the travel permits, I had time to visit one of the maternity hospitals in the city, where we were working. (Kabul, Afghanistan, 2001).
Photographer Juan Carlos Tomasi