Perspectives on Pakistan
Down the River: Behind the Images
For three days members of the Reuters Pakistan bureau are traveling down the Indus River valley surveying the extent of destruction from Pakistan’s worst ever natural disaster. Photographer Faisal Mehmood shares his thoughts:
When the water started coming, I started going out for two or three days at a time, and working. I saw people who had left their homes. Some families who had left one or two people behind to guard their houses and land; they said they were waiting for help from the government
Many people went to live with relatives or to the camps, and were living in tents.
I started shooting in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, in areas like Nowshera. People were complaining then about the aid – they were saying, “The government is getting money from around the world, but the money is going to the government and not to us”.
They were saying that after other disasters before, like the earthquake, they knew money was coming from around the world, but that the government didn’t give all of it to the people.
We’ve just spent a few days shooting in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – mainly in Nowshera, and I’ve visited the camps where people who have lost their homes are now living.
People are suffering disease and they say they want help to rebuild their homes, and that the government should help them to leave the camps. People want to go home.
I have heard from people asking when they can leave – they say in some of the camps food has stopped being provided. Children are suffering with disease and with facilities in the camps.
People are uncertain– if they have food for one day they still want to get more because they don’t know what’s going to happen to them.
When I am working, personally I feel I should do something to help these people, but I have limited resources. When I see people, they think we can help but I can’t do anything for them. I concentrate on work and taking pictures, and on listening to what they are saying to me.
People are mainly complaining about the government. They have lost everything and they are asking for help.
I just go and try to make the best pictures. I feel that when I’m shooting I’m able to show what is happening.