European refugee crisis

Seeking Asylum

(C) The Yomiuri Shimbun

The number of refugees from war zones in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan coming to the European Union has dramatically increased since September 2015.

A Yomiuri Shimbun journalist, Koki Kataoka, has taken photos of many refugee families during his travels with them across 8 countries from Greece to Germany for 3 weeks.

About 50 refugees traveled across the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey. After their 3-hour trip, they landed on Lesbos island in Greece.

Children were helped to land by supporters.

Ihsan Arbo, 25, from Iraq, thanked God just after landing.

Latifa Abdolkerim, 46, from Syria, hugged her brother with joy after arriving.

"We had no other choice for our children's education than this," said Mustafa Habeeb, 47, from Syria.

Ragdah Al-hashim, 48, from Iraq, was helped to land by tourists visiting the beach by chance.

Life jackets and boats refugees used were left on the beach.

At midnight, a Syrian woman was uneasily waiting for a ship to Athens with many other refugees.

A family from Afghanistan showed signs of fatigue while waiting for a bus from Athens to Macedonia.

Ihsan Arbo (right), 25, from Iraq, finally saw his friends again at Thessaloniki station, 5 hours from Athens by train.

Ihsan and his wife Rania were heading to the Macedonia border from Greece. Only one year after their marriage, they left their home country, Iraq.

In Hungary, at the border with Serbia, police patrolled along a fence to prevent refugees from entering.

Refugees walked along a fence to find a path to cross the border.

In front of the closed border between Serbia and Hungary, refugees protested for police to open a gate.

"Why do you shut us out? We're just passing through Hungary!"

In front of the closed border between Serbia and Hungary, refugees slept on a road in Horgos, Serbia.

Ahmad Ramazan, 15, migrated for a half year with bare feet from Syria.

Hungarian police fired tear gas at refugees.

A man who injured his head during the tear gas attack could not hide his anger.

Refugees lived on a road in front of the gate. They charged the batteries of their smart phones.

Dalal Saloum, 20, from Syria was looking for clothes with her children before heading to Croatia.

A bus stop at a border between Serbia and Croatia.

Refugees lived in a gas station temporarily in Beli Manastir, Croatia.

Refugees were waiting for a bus to Hungary. Eastern European countries rejected refugees.

"Let me ride on the bus!"

A woman shouted to a policeman in Baranjsko, Croatia.

A night on a bus.

In front of a border with Slovenia, refugees were stopped from entering in Harmica, Croatia.

People were sleeping on rails at Tovarnik station, Croatia.

Fire kept refugees warm.

Changing trains to Austria in southern Hungary

A Syrian family were heading to a border while supporting their grandfather.

The train bound for Zagreb at Tovarnik station, Croatia.

All smiles

In Croatia, refugees passed a border with Hungarian police guarding strictly.

An 18-year-old woman from Syria had a big smile when she entered Germany across a border from Austria.

Refugees studied German in Berlin, their final destination.

The women's dream was to work in the beauty industry after mastering German.

A 9-year-old girl from Syria was chatting happily with her mother in a refugee camp in Berlin.

Children from Syria were frolicking with balloons in their room in the camp.

"I love my home country, but what else can I do?" Most refugees said the same.

Photos by Koki Kataoka, Produced by Miku Sawano

Copyright (C) The Yomiuri Shimbun.