Flimsy boats, EU policies and an increase in migrants attempting the crossing are some of the factors converging to make this year an especially deadly one.
Wojciech Bakun admits he was ill-prepared to become a front-line humanitarian worker dealing with the rush of refugees from Ukraine. And some onlookers have been surprised by his response too.
Polish-based photographer Kasia Strek documented what it was like for migrants and people in Poland as the crisis evolved at the border in November.
After luring asylum-seekers to the EU as a political stunt, Belarus has now sent people back to the dangerous place they were escaping, rights groups and migrants tell NPR.
Poland has stopped some 16,000 migrants crossing its border from Belarus since August, and accuses Belarus' authoritarian regime of facilitating illegal migration into the European Union.