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Refugee images dominate Pulitzer photo prizes

Powerful photos of refugees and migrants on their journeys to Europe have taken home the US' top prizes for breaking news photography. One winner said public reactions to the images "showed that humanity is still alive."

The photography staff of news agency Thomson Reuters and photographers from "The New York Times" (NYT) were both awarded the

Pulitzer Prize in breaking news photography

on Monday in the award's centennial year.

This year, both Reuters and the NYT won for their "gripping" photographs documenting

the perilous journeys of refugees in Europe

during 2015, as well as the "struggle of host countries to take them in."

"Traditionally, refugees are the subject of pity. The Reuters images, used in newspapers and on websites around the globe, conveyed the people's courage, dignity, hope and determination," wrote Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler in the Pulitzer entry cover letter.

"Photographing the migrants was the ultimate test of staying out of the story," said Reuters photographer Bernadett Szabo. "There is no way to shake the emotional impact.... You have to let the story wash through you to remain human."

"We showed the world what was going on, and the world cared. It showed that humanity is still alive," Reuters' migrant crisis photography team lead Yannis Behrakis said. "We made for these unfortunate people's voice to be heard. Now with a Pulitzer, we feel that our work has been professionally recognized."

"The New York Times," with a record 117 Pulitzer prizes and citations before this year's announcement, added two more in 2016, taking the prize for international reporting in addition to its photography award.

Here are some of this year's winning works:

A Syrian refugee kisses his daughter as he walks through a rainstorm towards Greece's border with Macedonia

Photo by: Yannis Behrakis - Reuters

A Syrian refugee in a cape made from a plastic bag kisses his daughter as he walks through a rainstorm towards the Greek/Macedonian border village of Idomeni. The image even triggered a fundraising campaign on social media.

A Syrian refugee holding a baby in a life tube swims towards the shore after their dinghy deflated some 100m away before reaching the Greek island of Lesbos

Photo by: Alkis Konstantinidis - Reuters

A Syrian refugee holding a baby in a life tube swims towards the shore after their dinghy deflated before reaching the Greek island of Lesbos, on September 13, 2015.

A blind Palestinian refugee who lived in the town of Aleppo in Syria, rests on a beach moments after arriving in Greece

Photo by: Yannis Behrakis - Reuters

A blind Palestinian refugee named Amoun rests on a beach after arriving with 40 others on a dinghy on the Greek island of Kos. The 70-year-old lived in the Syrian city of Aleppo before fleeing the war and making the treacherous journey over the Aegean Sea.

Hungarian policemen stand by the family of migrants as they wanted to run away at the railway station in the town of Bicske, Hungary, September 3, 2015

Photo by: Laszlo Balogh - Reuters

Hungarian policemen stand over a family of immigrants who threw themselves onto the track before they were detained at a railway station in the town of Bicske, Hungary on September 3, 2015.

Refugees arrive by boat near the village of Skala on Lesbos, Greece,

Photo by: Sergey Ponomarev - The New York Times

Migrants arrive by a Turkish boat near the village of Skala, on the Greek island of Lesbos. The Turkish boat owner delivered some 150 people to the Greek coast and tried to escape back to Turkey; he was arrested in Turkish waters.

NYT photographer Sergey Ponomarev captured this image on the Greek island of Lesbos. This photo also won first place prize for general news

in the 2016 World Press Photo Award.
A Macedonian police officer raises his baton towards migrants to stop them from entering into Macedonia

Photo by: Alexandros Avramidis -Reuters

A Macedonian police officer raises his baton towards migrants to stop them from entering into Macedonia at Greece's border, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, on August 22, 2015. Thousands of rain-soaked migrants stormed across Macedonia's border as police lobbed stun grenades and beat them with batons, struggling to enforce a decree to stem their flow through the Balkans to Western Europe.

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