Nadia and her daughters Yuliia and Alisa in their room at the accommodation centre
© UNHCR/Andrew McConnell
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Top photos from 2023

Here are some of the images that moved you in 2023 and the unique stories behind them.

Images are a powerful way of telling stories from all corners of the world. From the Women’s World Cup in Australia to the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, these photos connect us with refugees and help us recognise our shared humanity.

"When we had the chance, we decided to run."

Panam and Agoth outside the Renk transit centre in South Sudan
© UNHCR/Andrew McConnell
Panam (left) and her niece Agoth sit next to their family’s shelter outside the UNHCR transit centre in Renk, South Sudan.

Panam and her family had comfortable lives in Khartoum, Sudan, before the conflict broke out in April. With her family of 19, she travelled for three days by foot and then truck before reaching the border in search of safety and protection. More than seven million people have now been displaced by the conflict. UNHCR teams are meeting refugees at border crossings and providing shelter, medicine and cash assistance to those most in need.

Anyier Yuol attends the FIFA Women's World Cup

Anyier Yuol at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup
© Anyier Yuol
Les Murray Award winner and former South Sudanese refugee Anyier Yuol at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Born in a UNHCR camp in Kenya, Anyier came to Australia on a humanitarian visa at the age of 10 with her family. Feeling lonely and isolated in a new country, football helped Anyier connect with others and find a sense of belonging. In 2023, she attended the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia to celebrate the power of football in uniting people across borders.

FIFA partnered with UNCHR to promote a message of peace and unity during the World Cup. “How great to see FIFA shining a light and creating awareness on refugee and displaced people,” said Anyier.

Earthquakes devastate Türkiye and Syria

A UNHCR staff member walks amidst the devastation of the earthquakes in Hatay city.
© UNHCR / Emrah Gürel
A UNHCR worker walks amidst the devastation of the earthquake in Hatay city, Türkiye.

On 6 February 2023, two powerful earthquakes struck south-eastern Türkiye and northern Syria, claiming thousands of lives and destroying homes and infrastructure across the region. Among those affected were displaced Syrians already suffering from the country’s long-running war. Thanks to your generous support, UNHCR delivered relief items including tents, thermal blankets, kitchen sets and water jerry-cans to earthquake-affected families.

Rebuilding lives in Ukraine

Nataliia and her children in front of their house which UNHCR helped repair
© UNHCR/Oleksii Barkov
Nataliia and her children with their kittens in front of their family home in Velyka Danylivka, Ukraine.

A skilled seamstress, Nataliia had lovingly decorated every room of the family’s house with her crafts. Unfortunately, her home and her crafts were badly damaged in the war. UNHCR helped the family replace the doors and windows and repair the damaged roof. Now, Nataliia and her children live in a warm and comfortable home, unafraid of the cold weather and hopeful that the war will come to an end.

“I am optimistic about the future, whatever happens,” says Nataliia. “After all, I am at home.”

Rohingya refugees win Nansen Award

Shahida Win is awarded the Nansen Refugee Award for Asia and the Pacific
© UNHCR/Susan Hopper
Shahida Win writes poetry at her home in Kutupalong refugee settlement.

Shahida Win, a Rohingya refugee and storyteller, is one of the four winners of the 2023 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award for Asia and the Pacific. Shahida fled Myanmar in 2017 and now lives in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, with her mother and brother. She is a photographer and poet, using her talent to tell the stories of the Rohingya people and their plight.

“Our stories show that we exist,” said Shahida. “And we have to tell our own stories, because we are the ones who know them best.”

Riding for refugees

Uni rides his scooter from Melbourne to Cairns
© Supplied
Uni travelled 4,000km from Melbourne to Cairns, raising money for refugees.

Uni, a young Japanese traveller, rode a kick scooter from Melbourne to Cairns to raise money for refugees. Covering 4,000km and carrying nothing but a backpack, Uni made his way up the east coast of Australia. After starting his trip in late January and overcoming a number of challenges along the way, he made it to Cairns in June 2023 with newfound friends and memories to last a lifetime.

Click here for more inspiring stories of refugees or follow Australia for UNHCR on social media for daily photos and updates.