Correspondent / behind the news

Behind the image

In this photograph taken on April 25, 2015, a cloud of snow and debris triggered by an earthquake flies towards Everest Base Camp, moments ahead of flattening part of the camp in the Himalayas (AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT)

(AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)


I'm going to be buried alive


Roberto Schmidt, AFP’s South Asia photo chief, and Kathmandu bureau chief Ammu Kannampilly had just reached Everest base camp on assignment on April 25 when an avalanche - triggered by the earthquake that has killed more than 5,000 in Nepal - thundered down the mountain leaving at least 18 people dead. This is the story of their near-fatal experience.

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Above the fold

When the big boat comes too late

Thursday 30 April 2015 - Eye witness

Rescued migrants disembark from the Italian Navy vessel Bettica after arriving in the Sicilian harbour of Augusta on April 22, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI)

"Migrant landings in the ports of southern Italy follow a well-worn pattern," writes AFP's Fanny Carrier, who was in Sicily this month to report on the deadliest week in the Mediterranean migrant crisis. "Out on the ship’s deck, the men, women and children sit surrounded by rescuers and humanitarian workers in white protective suits, gloves and masks. Their stories are all similar, all harrowing. They tell of a fraught, ruinously expensive journey across Africa, the perilous crossing of the Sahara, their arrival in Libya. They tell of the violence of militias and people-smugglers. They tell of their fear on board the boat, of water seeping in, of the rescuers who barely reached them in time. And finally, of reaching a safe shore."

(Photo: AFP / Alberto Pizzoli)

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Dignity and duty in ruined Kathmandu

Wednesday 29 April 2015 - Eye witness

Nepalese patient Sanu Ranjitkar breathes oxygen from a cylinder under a makeshift shelter in Kathmandu on April 27, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH)

"This is the second time I have covered a major natural disaster," writes AFP video reporter Agnes Bun, sent to cover the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal. "The first was in Tacloban, in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan struck in November 2013. What strikes me in Nepal is how deeply reserved its people are. They don’t force a smile, but when tragedy strikes they take their faces in their hands, stare at the ground, try any way they can to hide their grief."

"Filming these people’s pain is a challenge. When someone is crying out, weeping, you get the sense they are calling for help. I feel less awkward training a camera on them – than on someone who is doing all they can to stay dignified and keep their feelings private."

(Photo: AFP / Prakash Singh)

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Nigeria’s vote, in my classroom

Monday 27 April 2015 - Debriefing

People wait to vote at a polling station in Abuja during presidential elections on March 28, 2015 (AFP PHOTO / NICHOLE SOBECKI)

"When the AFP Foundation asked me to go to Abu Dhabi to train a group of Nigerian news editors in advanced business reporting, I had no idea I would be getting a first-hand glimpse of politics in Africa's most populous nation, in an air-conditioned Emirati facility nearly 6,000 kilometres from Lagos," writes AFP TV journalist Jurgen Hecker.

(Photo: AFP / Nichole Sobecki)

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Catching Calbuco

Saturday 25 April 2015 - Eye witness

The Calbuco volcano, in southern Chile, erupts on April 23, 2015 (AFP / Martin Bernetti)

"I had never managed to capture a force of nature as stunning as a volcanic eruption", writes AFP photographer Martin Bernetti. "Chile has some 90 active volcanoes that roar to life from time to time with the kind of raw natural power that every photographer dreams of catching. But the country is extremely long and narrow, and domestic flights are usually cancelled whenever volcanic activity picks up. That means getting to an eruption usually takes hours of driving. And when you get there, the volcano will most likely have calmed down..."

(Photo: AFP / Martin Bernetti)

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Backstories: the photographer and the map

Monday 20 April 2015 - Eye witness


US marines officers from the 2nd Battalion 8th Marines are briefed about their initial mission in the event of a strike against Iraq, 13 March 2003 in Camp Shoup in northern of Kuwait. (AFP PHOTO/ERIC FEFERBERG)

In Backstories, a new video series by Laurent Kalfala and Sylvain Estibal, AFP journalists take us behind the scenes of a powerful moment in their career.

For the first installment, Eric Feferberg tells the extraordinary tale of this picture, taken on March 13, 2003 in a US military camp in Kuwait where 130,000 troops were preparing to invade Iraq. Invited to photograph this officers' briefing - and the top-secret map in the background - he had little idea of the storm that would ensue.

(AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg)


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A flash of xenophobic rage

Friday 17 April 2015 - Eye witness

A taxi driver holds bricks in his hands on April 15, 2015 during a confrontation with foreign nationals in the Johannesburg Central Business District. (AFP PHOTO/MARCO LONGARI)

A South African taxi driver hurls paving stones at the head of a foreigner, during xenophobic clashes in Johannesburg on April 15, 2015. AFP photographer Marco Longari explains how he came to witness this brief but spectacular explosion of hatred, in a country where outbreaks of xenophobic violence are a recurring problem.

(Photo: AFP / Marco Longari)

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Across the water from Yemen

Thursday 16 April 2015 - Eye witness

A Yemeni woman sits on April 13, 2015 in her designated quarters at a UNHCR boarding facility at Obock, a small port town in Djibouti located on the northern shore of of the Gulf of Tadjoura (AFP PHOTO/TONY KARUMBA)

In the fishing port of Obock, in Djibouti, hundreds of people fleeing the Saudi-led air war on Yemen have been landing in skiffs at all hours of the day and night.

"I photograph the sweet smiles of the young, the questioning looks of teenagers and the deep, reserved glances of their elders. I try to work as sensitively as I can, to capture the emotions on their faces," writes AFP photographer Tony Karumba. "But as always when I am documenting someone else's pain, reporting on the nightmare their lives have become, at the back of mind there is a bleak awareness my work can make little difference to their plight."

(Photo: AFP / Tony Karumba)

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Boko Haram, through the eyes of children

Monday 13 April 2015 - Eye witness

Young Nigerian refugees draw on April 6, 2015 during a therapy program managed by UNICEF in the refugee camp near Baga Sola. (AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES)

"We are on the shores of Lake Chad in the Dar-es-Salam refugee camp, a dusty, crowded site sheltering some 5,000 people who fled over the border from northern Nigeria to escape the Boko Haram insurgency," writes AFP photographer Philippe Desmazes. "Among them are a great many children. Under a large white tent UNICEF has been holding art therapy workshops for young refugees. It’s a common technique used to help children in war zones overcome their trauma - and also a way to fill the endless days in the camp."

(Photo: AFP Photo / Philippe Desmazes)

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