Forgotten people – IDPs of Pakistan floods

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Last week, I spent several days in Karachi, Pakistan for assignments. It has been five months since my last visit to the port city, which is similar to Mumbai.

Between the assignments, I went to see an IDP (internally displaced person) camp located ourside the city.  They are temporary shelters for people who were displaced during the floods in August.

I was quite surprised when I heard that there are still people staying in the camp more than four months after the disaster. There are over 250 families still live in tents and school buildings.

They told me that their villages are still under water and they can’t go back.  As famers, they have no work without the land so they are just doing day jobs here and there in the city to survive until they can go back to the villages.

They also told me that hardly any assistance comes to the camp any more. Some NGOs and relief organizations were bringing food, water, blankets…etc, but it stopped about a month ago. The water tanker supplying water to the camp hasn’t come for three days.

A man named Basir said that he feels that they were “forgotten”.

Although they don’t have much left, they haven’t forgotten hospitality to strangers, like myself.  Every tent I visited, I was offered chai (tea).  I love chai but I can only take so much so I had to turn down the offer after the fourth tent.

As I often feel the same way when visiting people in IDP or refugee camps – I sensed their “expectations”. They expect something good to happen following my visit, especially because I am a foreigner whom they assume may have more power to change the things.

As a journalist, I can’t promise anything besides letting photos and stories out to the public. I am not an aid worker or doctor who can help people in a more direct way and there is no guarantee that publishing stories would bring more assistance to them.

So when I sense such “expectations” from people who I photograph, I feel a bit awkward. If necessary, I try to make it clear to them that there are no promises to be made.

Although I didn’t make any promises with people in the camp, I hope my pictures will lead to remind the public of these “forgotten” people.













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Bonjour Juliette Bonjour Kuni Takahashi,
tonight i stumbled upon your work on www by chance.
I’m in deep owe of your work as a photographer, and i’ve been moved by what you show. I don’t know if my emotion will lead to something helpfull to any of the people you show – but i do hope so. I hope this knowing can make me DO something. It sure makes me think / and that sure doesn’t seem to be a BIG thing, but still, in a way, thinking is the first step towards doing. And i thought maybe knowing someone over in France seeing your work and starting to think / about others, help needed, etc / might be good for you to know… Anyway, thank you, thank you so much for what you’re doing. Thank you.

Kuni Takahashi I was pleased to read your comment. It is quite nice of you. Thanks.

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