The global award in photography and sustainability

Cyclone Aila

Cyclone Aila

The devastation caused by Cyclone Aila in the district of Satkhira, south-west Bangladesh, has left villages flooded with saline water and at increased risk of waterborne diseases.

It’s now feared that salt water from the tidal surge that followed the cyclone will contaminate non-saline surface water, which is crucial for farming in the region. The Sundarbans delta, which bore the brunt of the cyclone, is the subject of a series of award-winning images by young Bangladeshi photographer Munem Wasif.  Earlier this year, Wasif won the Prix Pictet Water Commission to photograph a sustainability project related to the theme of the award.

In 2008 Pictet & Cie supported the UK charity WaterAid that manages projects in the developing world aiding communities to gain access to clean, safe water, and sanitation and hygiene education.

In Munem’s photographs, Salt Water Tears: Lives Left Behind in Satkhira, Bangladesh, we see where there was once fertile grazing grounds for cows, who now must swim through inundated land in search of food.  We see a woman scopping water from a contaminated pond into a drinking pot; twice a day she makes the hour-long journey to the pond, the closest water source to her home. Many people here have poor health and suffer serious disease.

WaterAid currently works in Satkhira to provide water and sanitation in hard to reach places to people who desperately need it.