Part II: Does the Poverty Epidemic Exacerbate the Health Epidemic?

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The neighborhood of Lukovitsa in Peshtera, where two people died from covid-19 in April.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Roma neighborhoods are back in the public spotlight. Many Roma homes lack basic sanitary conditions and chronic poverty, overcrowding and the lack of access to basic utilities like running water put people at risk of diseases. In the past, outbreaks of Hepatitis A and measles have been found in Roma neighborhoods. Worries that covid-19 could devastate such communities is not unfounded. In many countries around the world, the poorest people are being hardest hit by the virus and the same pattern appears to be emerging in Bulgaria.

In early May, former Bulgarian Prime…


Part I from the series “Roma in Bulgaria”

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Sitting on a rug spread on the wooden planks of his two-room house, 73-year-old Lazar Asenov skillfully twists willow branches, finishing the basket he is weaving. He learned the craft from his father and grandfather, who were nomadic weavers and horse traders. Lounging on the two beds in the room — the only furnishings — some of his many children and grandchildren watch him work. Four adults and five children share this home in a dilapidated Kremikovtsi neighborhood of muddy streets and brick shacks on the edge of the town of Garmen in Southern Bulgaria

“Simpler and happier” is how…


After accepting 40 refugee families, neighbors struggle to provide their basic needs.

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A Syrian boy inside the Marut village house shared by several families.

When tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds fled the ISIS attack on Kobani earlier this fall, most ended up in the now overcrowded Turkish town of Suruç. The majority found shelter in tent camps, public schools and mosques, filling nearly every available space. But thousands of others made their way to the dusty villages on the periphery, sometimes sharing crowded homes with family members and other times moving into unused houses, barns and storage sheds. Although the village of Marut is just a few kilometers out of town, it feels centuries away, as shepherds guide a flock of sheep down…


A team of Kurdish-born Swedish-trained physicians have returned to Iraq, attending to thousands of desperate people who survived ISIS attacks but face a grim future in Iraqi Kurdistan.

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Doctors Nemam Ghafouri, Korshid Ibrahim and Naza Othman, all Swedish doctors with Kurdish roots, listen as a 15 year-old Yezidi girl talks about the trauma she’s been through.

In a crowded tent at the Bajet Kandela camp in Dohuk region of Iraqi Kurdistan, a fifteen year-old Yazidi girl tearfully recounts seeing her mother slaughtered by ISIS militants in front of her eyes. Dr Korshid Ibrahim, a Swedish doctor with Kurdish roots, listens attentively before prescribing medicine and an unusual treatment. He invites her to join his staff at the container medical clinic stationed at the camp in order to take…

Jodi Hilton

Jodi Hilton is a photojournalist who has been covering stories of migration from Asia to the Middle East to Europe and in-between.

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