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Northern Pakistan Heavy Rain and Floods
Chitral
By Malik Ayub Sumbal
27 Jul 2015

Footage of floods in Northern Pakistan and Chitral District and other areas.

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Rescue Work After Heavy Floods in Nor...
Peshawar, Pakistan
By Malik Ayub Sumbal
27 Jul 2015

Rescue work footage after floods hit the city of Peshawar in northern Pakistan on July 27th, 2015.

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Fleeing Nature 3
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
13 Apr 2015

Mohammad Razzaque Miah sleeps inside his temporary tent in Mymensing. He migrated from Kurigram to Mymensing after losing his house in a flood.

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Fleeing Nature: Bangladesh's Climate ...
Dhaka
By Anik Rahman
31 Mar 2015

Sept-Oct, 2014

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a country of rivers and waterways on which large swaths of its population live. River bank erosion and flooding are common and continuous process due to global warming and rising sea levels. This continuous natural hazard is destroying homes and livelihoods and turning millions of Bangladeshis into homeless climate refugees.

The factors controlling river and stream formation are complex and interrelated. These factors include the amount and rate of water supply from rain and upstream activity, sediment deposited into the stream systems, catchment geology, and the type and extent of vegetation in the catchment. As these factors change over time, river systems respond by altering their shape and course. Unpredictable weather patterns also make flooding a common problem as the course of the rivers shift.

As a result of riverbank erosion and flooding, millions of people are losing their homes and fertile land every year. Most people who lose their homes or land become climate refugees, often pouring into the country’s overpopulated cities penniless and looking for new opportunities.  However, due to overpopulation, migrating climate refugees often arrive in the cities only to find themselves scrounging for food, work and accommodation. Thus, Bangladesh’s most vulnerable citizens are losing their battle against nature and are only made poorer and more desperate.  

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India: Landslide Buries Fifteen in Ka...
Budgam
By Umar Mehraj
30 Mar 2015

Landslides have buried at least 15 people in Indian Kashmir as hundreds fled their homes after heavy rain triggered flooding around the mountainous region. Police and witnesses said landslides had buried at least four houses in Chadoora, the worst hit area of the Himalayan region where hundreds were killed in devastating floods last September.

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Malawi Floods 01
Chikwawa, Malawi
By Arjen van de Merwe
11 Jan 2015

Fields are flooded and covered in mud due to heavy rains and floods. The crop is lost.

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Malawi Floods 02
Chikwawa, Malawi
By Arjen van de Merwe
11 Jan 2015

Fields are flooded and covered in mud due to heavy rains and floods. The crop is lost.

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Malawi Floods 03
Chikwawa, Malawi
By Arjen van de Merwe
11 Jan 2015

Fields are flooded and covered in mud due to heavy rains and floods. The crop is lost.

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Malawi Floods 04
Chikwawa, Malawi
By Arjen van de Merwe
11 Jan 2015

Buildings and homes have been severely damaged due to the onslaught of rain.

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Malawi Floods 05
Chikwawa, Malawi
By Arjen van de Merwe
11 Jan 2015

Fields are flooded and covered in mud due to heavy rains and floods. The crop is lost.

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Malawi Floods 06
Chikwawa, Malawi
By Arjen van de Merwe
11 Jan 2015

The Mediramu community evacuation centre was constructed by the Evangelical Association of Malawi and Chikhwawa District Council with support from Christian Aid and the European Commission. Bakabu Kavalo rests for a moment in the community evacuation centre. He is so old he forgot his age, but at Malawi's independence in 1964 he was a young man. The rains are heavier than any rains he has experienced in his life.

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Malawi Floods 07
Chikwawa, Malawi
By Arjen van de Merwe
11 Jan 2015

The Mediramu community evacuation centre was constructed by the Evangelical Association of Malawi and Chikhwawa District Council with support from Christian Aid and the European Commission. Mrs. Chrissie Chimuhe is 52 years old. Her house was built on a hill, but it still collapsed. The rains were the worst she ever experienced. She has four children, two of whom are married. The other two live with her in the IDP centre; but at the moment the photo taken, they were in school.

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Malawi: Deadly Floods Displace Thousands
Chikwawa, Malawi
By Arjen van de Merwe
10 Jan 2015

Malawi, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, has seen devastating floods in the southern part of the country. In some areas, a month’s worth of rain came down in 24 hours at the beginning of the rainy season, leaving villages, roads, bridges and fields destroyed. The death toll is estimated to be anywhere between dozens and nearly two-hundred, while 14,000 households are known to be displaced (an estimated 70.000 people). However, some areas have yet to be reached, so these figures are expected to rise.

The government of Malawi has declared fifteen southern districts disaster zones and has appealed for international aid. To British government has already dedicated GBP 3.8 million to help rescue and rebuilding efforts, and many other governments are soon to follow.

The aid operation carried out by the Government of Malawi, the military and a range of international organisations, MSF and UNICEF having a prominent presence among them, is in full speed. The Malawian army is leading the evacuation of affected and vulnerable communities, using boats and helicopters, and improvised camps are being set up with tents and medical facilities. As always after flooding, prevention of waterborne diseases such as cholera is priority.

Bad weather continued to hinder the aid operations until Friday 16 January when the rain ceased. However, rising temperatures made for uncomfortable circumstances in the camps and outside.

The Malawian Police Force is setting up Victim Support Units and Child Protection units in the camps, while the international agencies such as UNICEF and UNFPA provide blankets, tents and food, and also first aid for rape cases and safe delivery kits. MSF is also participating, setting up and operating a mobile health clinic.

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Fleeing Nature 1
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
19 Nov 2014

A homeless climate refugee sleeps in a park at Dhaka. The Bangladeshi capital is one of the most densely populated cities on earth. One of the major contributing factors to this swell in population is the mass migration of people from the impoverished countryside into the city. Many of those leaving the countryside fled after losing homes, crops, and livelihoods to natural catastrophes.

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Fleeing Nature 6
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Mohammad Rashid Miah cut down all of the trees around his house on Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. Having already lost his house to the river, Mr. Miah is salvaging his trees in order to sell them and save enough money to move to Dhaka.

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Fleeing Nature 8
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Rubel stands in front of his uprooted coconut trees on Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. After loosing his cow to river bank erosion, these coconut trees were his last source of livelihood. However, these trees have now also fallen victim to the river.

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Fleeing Nature 12
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Rabeya Khatun mourns her lost husband and son on Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. Her husband and son lost their lives when their house was swallowed by the river as they slept. Rabeya was at her mother's house when the incident occurred and thus survived.

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Fleeing Nature 13
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
11 Oct 2014

Mohammad Ikram stands in front of the Meghna river, near Alexander Island, in Laxmipur. He has seen his neighbors migrating and even dying because of water related disasters. Despite strong signals that it is best to leave the area, he does not know what to do because his land is all he has.

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Fleeing Nature 2
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
03 Oct 2014

Sadarghat Launch Terminal, situated on the bank of the river Buriganga in Dhaka, is one of the busiest places in Bangladesh. Most people migrating from the countryside pass through this port to migrate to Dhaka. Many of those migrating are climate refugees.

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Fleeing Nature 4
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Shahjahan transports tin sheets and other materials from his house. Some families actually migrate before disaster strikes so they do not lose all of their belongings in an impending disaster. Mohammad deconstructed his entire house and moved it elsewhere before it was destroyed by the water.

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Fleeing Nature 5
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Mamun stands over his submerged house in the Padma River in Dohar, Dhaka. Mr. Mamun's house was swallowed by the Padma after river bank erosion resulted in a land implosion.

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Fleeing Nature 7
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Romjal Ali takes a selfie with his destroyed house. Mr. Ali's house was destroyed by the eroding river bank. Dohar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Fleeing Nature 9
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Rabeya Begum stands over the roof of her house which she salvaged after it was destroyed by river bank erosion. She is going to use the salvaged materials to build her new home. Dohar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Fleeing Nature 10
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Khadija Akhter was only able to save this cabinet and some bricks from her house after river bank erosion resulted in her house being destroyed and submerged. Dohar, Dhaka.

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Fleeing Nature 11
Dhaka, Bangladesh
By Anik Rahman
04 Sep 2014

Mohammad Hashmot Ali's house sits tilted and half submerged in the Padma river after the bank on which his house was built gave way. Dohar, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Swimmers Without Borders
By Javier Triana
07 May 2014

Brian Onyoo is a swimming instructor at Nairobi's exclusive Impala Club, where he teaches children how to swim and overcome their fear of water. “In Nairobi, most people run away when they see water”, he jokes. Brian Onyoo comes from the Kibera slum. He was born in Nyanza, on the shores of Lake Victoria, where flooding is common. According to him, most people living in his slum don’t know how to swim because they cannot afford paying for lessons.

The hourly rate for swimming lessons at the Impala Club is 200 Kenyan Shillings ($2,29 US). “Very few people can afford that. To be honest, if you live in the slums and you have that money, you don't spend it on learning to how swim. You buy flour, tomatoes or cooking oil. With 400 KSH you can buy food for a whole week”, he says, explaining that most of his students come from wealthy families.

While the participation of Eric Moussambani from Equatorial Guinea in the men's 100 meters freestyle swimming at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games made many laugh – the man had learned how to swim only a few months before the competition and recorded the worst time in the history of the sport, it highlighted one of Africa’s untold tragedies: the fact that many people don’t know how to swim and often die drowning.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Africa has the highest rate of drowning deaths in the world. The problem is so serious that the Kenyan Red Cross launched programs to teach people living in risky areas (such as fishermen) basic water survival skills. “A lot of people die because they don't know how to swim. People in the countryside are not used to it, it's simply not a part of their lives. It is seen as a type of luxury. Swimming is something the elite can do, because they can send their children to a school with a swimming pool”, Secretary General of the Kenyan Red Cross Abbas Gullet, explains.

In Africa, the fear of water has even been used as a weapon of war. During the 1994 Rwanda genocide, Hutu militants would order Tutsis to jump in the water as an alternative to being hacked to death with machetes.

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Flash Floods in China (2 of 15)
Kunming, Yunnan, China
By HughBohane
19 Jul 2013

A traffic police officer shares his island with stranded pedestrians.

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Fracking Up Fares
Fares, Aswan
By zeer news
01 May 2013

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

In 2009, the company DANA GAS (UAE) started shale gas explorations near Fares, a small agricultural village on the West Bank of the Nile, 75 km North of Aswan.
The company employed a controversial technique known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking", which uses a mixture of pressurized water and chemicals to release natural gas trapped in the shale rock. 
The village was soon flooded with groundwater and in January 2013 orchards, crops and houses were destroyed. 
Residents do not have results from the water tests that the government was supposed to carry out.  In addition to ecological concerns, property owners whose land was affected have received very little compensation from the gas extraction company (Dana Gas) or from the Egyptian government. The clean up efforts promised by the government have come to a halt and it is not known if and when they will resume. 

The case of Fares, however, differs from other documented cases of damages caused by fracking. 

The flooding is believed to be the result of seismic testings, a straightforward operation conducted prior to the extraction to determine the size of the shale. 

Therefore, this case shows:

  • how monitoring of the fracking operations --known to be possibly harmful for water reserves -- was poor or non-existent in an area close to the Nile

  • media usually focuses on fracking's direct effects. In Fares, however, damage was caused by a subsidiary effect of fracking

  •  land grabbing - although not through acquisition, but through destruction - occurred without compensation for the villagers and the denial of any responsibility on part of the company

  • the Egyptian government - under Mubarak, the SCAF, and the Muslim Brotherhood - failed to stand up against the company and protect its citizens

  • environmental concerns not only for the village's proximity to the Nile, but also for the destruction of many mature and rare trees

SHOT DESCRIPTION

00:00 - 00:17
Images of Upper Egypt, Map of Fares

VO: "75 km north of Aswan lies Fares, a village of 30,000 inhabitants, on the west bank of the Nile. Renowned as one of the principle producers of mangoes and dates in Egypt, the majority of Fares' residents are employed in the agricultural sector, making fields and crops the crux of the village's economy."

00:18 - 00:35 Images of the flooded fields, Sheikh Ahmed Abdel Hamid

VO: "However, in January 2013, flooding of groundwater devastated fields and orchards, and destroyed houses and local buildings in the village. The flooding has been attributed to the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations by the company Dana Gas, whose extraction site, is only 10 km north of Fares.

00:36 - 00:47 Animated info-graphic on fracking

VO: "Fracking is a controversial technique used to extract natural gas from shale rock. This is done by creating fissures in the shale with a perforating gun, and then injecting a pressurized mixture of water and chemicals to release the trapped gas and bring it to the surface."

00:48 - 01:19 Interview with the Sheikh Ahmed Abdel Hamid (community leader), images of the fields

"It has started since 2009-- first they found that the soil became wet. Gradually, the water began to come on the surface, higher and higher, until it reached the level of one metre. This water has submerged about 2,000 feddans of land (840 hectares)."

01:20 - 01:26 Images of fields, uprooted palm tree

VO: Although the company is not fracking in Fares directly, the flooding is believed to be a result of Dana Gas's seismic testing using 'shot-holes'.

01:26 - 01:52 Animated info-graphic on seismic testing

VO: "Seismic testing uses 30 foot pipes that are inserted into the ground, and an explosion is detonated. The vibrations from the explosion bounce off the subsurface rock and travel back to the surface, where a grid of geophone sensors pick up the wavelengths, thus determining the expanse of the shale below. Ordinarily in the industry, the pipes are plugged in order to prevent flooding. But, these pipes were left open in the fields-- creating a pathway for flowing groundwater to stream upwards."

01:53 - 02:09 Images of fields, springs

VO: "The flooding reached a climax in January, but damage to the fields remains. Stagnant puddles of water exceeding 3 inches, cover entire fields. Groundwater continues to spring spontaneously, creating essentially a swamp out of homes and a formerly prosperous crop."

02:10 - 02:24 Interview with Mohamed Abdouh (farmer and teacher)

"Approximately about 150 families have to move, because of this problem. A lot of these families can't afford to build new houses."

02:25 - 02:36 Interview with Mohamed Abdouh, images of the local graveyard
"The most bitter thing for the villagers is that the graveyard of the village has completely submerged. "

02:37 - 03:06 Interview with Sheikh Ahmed Abdel Hamid in front of a house destroyed

"Approximately 2,000 feddans were flooded by the groundwater. it is more than 2,000 feddans. In these areas there were trees: palms, lemon, mango, berries and that now there is water (that are now flooded). It has more than a hundreds of thousands of doom, palms, mangoes, lemons, and all citrus and this is all the income for the village. These fields are the only income for the village "

03:07 - 03:20 Images of residents

VO: Residents state that there was virtually no consultation with the village prior to shale extraction. In 2009, they were told there may be gas reserves in their village, but the seismic testing carried out directly on their land, was not explained to them.

03:21 - 03:44

"They just came and drilled. When the farmers asked them they told (them) they were looking for oil. So the farmers were happy. If they found gas or oil on your land, you will have a good compensation. Good money as a compensation."

03:45 - 03:52 Images of a street seller, men sitting on the ground, kid riding a donkey

VO: "The governor of Aswan stated that the company would create 450 jobs for local residents, yet no one has been employed to date."

03:53 - 04:06 Images of children, the local school, man picking up bricks

VO: "Moreover, compensation remains a large concern for the residents' livelihood. Beyond the municipal government offering to help rebuild the hospital and school, very little money has actually met the hands of the land and home owners whose properties were damaged."

04:07 - 04:34 Interview with Mohamed Abdouh

"When the villagers went to make a sit-in in the company-- in the site there- -the responsibles came and told us they have given the clerks in the municipal council a big number-- a lot of money. When we returned to the municipal council, they denied that. So we are... we don't know how. We are now bewildered between them…"

04:35 - 04:49 Images of the cleanup operation site.

VO: "The government began cleanup efforts six months ago by draining the fields with pipes that would empty to a drainage canal and then run back into the Nile. The pipes though, were too small, and so the clean up project had come to a halt. When they will resume is unknown."

04:50 - 04:59 Images of Sheikh Ahmed Abdel Hamid, puddle of stagnant water, the Nile river from Fares' shore.

VO: "Residents still have not heard back from the municipal council abt the water test results, but maintain that the water is harmful, which is also a cause for concern due to its proximity to the Nile."

05:00 - 05:16 Images of Sheikh Ahmed Abdel Hamid, images of resident walking next to trees, man on the train.

VO:
In addition to the ecological concerns, it's significant that Fares' principal fields and orchards were destroyed, including many mature trees that had reached peak production. Thus not only costing the agricultural-centered village lost profits this year, but also for the years to come.

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Ground Water
Dalhamiye, Lebanon
By Docphot
13 Feb 2013

Ground water often floods the camps due to poor drainage and the winter snowfall.

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people crossing street after floods
Eastleigh, Kenya
By Ulrik Pedersen
23 Nov 2012

People crossin a flooded street in Eastleigh, Nairobi, Kenya. Somalian part of Nairobi.