Photographers' Blog

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures August 15, 2010

Flooding and mudslides have again dominated the week's coverage in Asia. Reports that one fifth of Pakistan is now under water and over 20 million have been affected by the rising waters. In the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu over a 1000 people lost their lives as a mudslide swept through the town of Zhouqu. It is easy to become visually tired looking at images of people wading waist deep in flood water or seeing another image of a relative weeping for a loved one. In the pictures below even the most jaded eyes and souls must feel the passion of the pictures as photographers tell the story and bring home the desperation of their subject's plight.

Adrees Latif, chief photographer Pakistan, captures a moment that if it wasn't so sad would almost be funny. People, whose lives have been shattered by flooding, loss of their homes, hunger and the risk of disease suffer the final humiliation as a relief truck sweeps by driving water over their heads, the driver oblivious of the scene. In another picture  in a  camp for the displaced  Karachi based photographer Akhtar Soomro photographs a boy sitting in isolation who hurriedly eats, his eyes glaring out of the image as he keeps guard in case someone, imagined or real, tries to steal his food.

PAKISTAN-FLOODS/

Residents being evacuated through flood waters dodge an army truck carrying relief supplies for flood victims in Pakistan's Muzaffargarh district in Punjab province August 11, 2010. The floods have ploughed a swathe of destruction more than 1,000 km (600 miles) long from northern Pakistan to the south, killing more than 1,600 people.   REUTERS/Adrees Latif

PAKISTAN-FLOODS/

A boy fleeing from flooded village eats his food handout in a makeshift relief camp in Sukkur at Pakistan's Sindh province August 10, 2010. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari returned home on Tuesday from official foreign visits to a chorus of criticism over his government's response to the country's worst flooding in 80 years. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Shanghai based photographer Aly Song, flew, drove and then  finally hiked the final 5 miles into the mudslide stricken town of Zhouqu. Working closely with stringers, Aly and the team produced images that scream from the page; a man bent over and standing in isolation, holds his head in sheer grief as the search and rescue carries on behind him. The image of the girl in the red dress stopped me in my tracks as I remembered haunting "red dress" scenes in the mainly black and white Spielberg film "Schindler's List".  Two other striking images from Zhouqu are the workers resting, dwarfed by the crumpled buildings in the background and the faceless rescue workers, heads bowed, wearing full protection against airborne disease, listening to instructions from their leaders, who to me appear resigned in the accepted knowledge that they are no longer looking for survivors, but are to be employed to try and stop disease spreading from the decaying bodies.

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A week in pictures

Rarely do so many big stories of global interest happen at the same time from one region but last week in Asia its been incredible.

Soldiers and aid workers struggled to reach at least a million people cut off by landslides that have complicated relief efforts after the worst floods in Pakistan in 80 years. Poor weather has grounded relief helicopters and more rain was expected to compound the misery of more than 13 million people . The floods have killed more than 1,600 people. 

PAKISTAN-FLOODS/

Marooned flood victims looking to escape grab the side bars of a hovering Army helicopter which arrived to distribute food supplies in the Muzaffargarh district of Pakistan's Punjab province August 7, 2010. Pakistanis desperate to get out of flooded villages threw themselves at helicopters on Saturday as more heavy rain was expected to intensify both suffering and anger with the government. The disaster killed more than 1,600 people and disrupted the lives of 12 million.  REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Be prepared!

“ALWAYS get to the scene as soon as possible”, is a mantra for the Tokyo picture team. It is advice which features prominently in the pocket-sized guide to emergency coverage procedures produced by our boss Michael Caronna - a guide which has also become indispensible in everyday coverage too. 

Japan is one of the world’s most seismically active areas and the Tokyo Pictures team’s emergency earthquake coverage plan is well-developed and paid off recently when we covered a powerful earthquake in Northern Japan. 

The guide suggests a very clear and concise principle: “Have equipment and photographers in place at all times and just go when it happens.”