Jan Grarup, Denmark

Somalia: The situation seems hopeless

Climate change combined with lack of rain, longer droughts occurring in ever shorter intervals, war and destroyed infrastructure as well as severe poverty and a steep increase in food prices have led to a hunger crisis that has already claimed thousands of lives and left 320,000 children fighting for survival.

Somalia: The situation seems hopeless
Bild 1 von 10 © Jan Grarup/Noor
Somalia: The situation seems hopeless
Bild 2 von 10 © Jan Grarup/Noor
Somalia: The situation seems hopeless
Bild 3 von 10 © Jan Grarup/Noor
Somalia: The situation seems hopeless
Bild 4 von 10 © Jan Grarup/Noor
Somalia: The situation seems hopeless
Bild 5 von 10 © Jan Grarup/Noor
Somalia: The situation seems hopeless
Bild 6 von 10 © Jan Grarup/Noor
Somalia: The situation seems hopeless
Bild 7 von 10 © Jan Grarup/Noor
Somalia: The situation seems hopeless
Bild 8 von 10 © Jan Grarup/Noor
Somalia: The situation seems hopeless
Bild 9 von 10 © Jan Grarup/Noor
Somalia: The situation seems hopeless
Bild 10 von 10 © Jan Grarup/Noor


Somalia is at the epicenter of the crisis: 25 percent of the population are acutely threatened and have fled their homes, in particular in the southern parts of the country. That’s where the civil war between the Islamist militia group Al Shabaab on one side and the interim government in Mogadishu and allied African peacekeepers on the other side coincided with a severe drought in early 2011. Many international aid organizations had already left Somalia due to the precarious safety situation. Others were violently forced to leave the areas controlled by the Islamist militia.

Our shared humanity dictates that we must support the helpers who care for those who are starving and the refugees who have lost everything they had.

The Danish photographer Jan Grarup is a very experienced photographer who has seen an almost endless amount of suffering in his 18 years as a reporter. In his usual, cautious manner he tries to document the situation in the camps near the Ethiopian border town of Dollo Ado. In an interview, he states: “I could take pictures of the situation on site showing horrors that would make the viewer turn away. But that wouldn’t help the refugees.”

Despite the difficult security situation in southern Somalia, UNICEF, together with its partner organizations and local staff, uses every opportunity to get access to and help those in need.

Curriculum Vitae: Jan Grarup

Jan Grarup
© Peter Hove

Jan Grarup (Danish, b.1968) has over the course of his eighteen-year career photographed many of recent history’s defining human rights and conflict issues.  Grarup’s work reflects his belief in photojournalism’s role as an instrument of witness and memory to incite change, and the necessity of telling the stories of people who are rendered powerless to tell their own.

His images of the Rwandan and Darfur genocides provide incontrovertible evidence of unthinkable human brutality, in the hope that such events will never happen, or be allowed to happen again. His work, The Boys from Ramallah and The Boys from Hebron, covers both sides of the recent Intifada expressed through the lives of children coming of age amidst the violence.  Grarup’s work takes the viewer to the limits of human despair, dignity, suffering and hope. His images are relevant to us all, because they form a chronicle of the time in which we live, but at times do not dare to recognize.

Grarup has been honored with some of the most prestigious awards from the photography industry and human rights organizations, including: World Press Photo, UNICEF, W. Eugene Smith Foundation for Humanistic Photography, POYi and NPPA. In 2005 he was awarded with a Visa d’Or at the Visa Pour l’Image photo festival in France, for his coverage of Darfur’s refugee crisis.
Jan Grarup is a co-founder and member of NOOR photo agency, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Grans, Awards
2011: Leica Oskar Barnack Award
2011: POYi World Understanding Award, Finalist
2008: Picture of the year, Denmark. 1st. prize - Photographer of the year
2005: Visa d'Or, Festival Visa pour l'Image, France
2004: Picture of the year, Denmark. 1st. prize - Photographer of the year
2003: Feature Story of the Year, Denmark.
2002: UNICEF Photo of the Year Award. 1st. Prize
2002: POYi World Understanding Award
2002: World Press Photo - 1st. prize People in the news - stories
2001: Visa d'Or, Festival Visa pour l'Image, France
2001: UNICEF Photo of the Year Award. Jury's Special Award.
2000: Picture of the year, Denmark. 1st. prize - Photographer of the year
1991: Picture of the year, Denmark. 1st. prize - Photographer of the year

Exhibitions
2010 World Tour Exhibition
Launched at the United Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 "Consequences by NOOR"
2009 "War Photo Limited", Dubrovnik, Croatia
NOOR's 'conflicts of interests' group exhibition
2008 La Maison de la Photographie Robert Doisneau, Gentilly, France
NOOR group exhibtion
2008 Bayeux-Calvados Festival, Bayeux, France
"War-photojournalism" NOOR group exhibition
2008 War Photo Limited, Dubrovnik, Croatia
"Child Soldier" collective exhibition 

Selected Books
217A Universal Declaration of Himan Rights by NOOR, Fonart, 2008
Shadow Land, Politikens Forlag 2007