1989 Photo Contest, News Feature, 1st prize

Charles Hires


01 August, 1988

An aerial view of a village in Bangladesh, after severe floods swept the country in July and August 1988. The simultaneous floodings of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers caused the worst inundations in the history of Bangladesh. With three-quarters of the country, including Dhaka airport, under water, the distribution of relief supplies faced almost insurmountable problems. When the water receded the final death toll was estimated at 2,600. Millions of people lost their homes. Charles Hires: 'I arrived to cover the 1988 floods in Bangladesh fresh from Sudan, where I had also photographed flooding. The contrast between the deluge-stricken desert land in Africa and Bangladesh, where the water levels could be measured in meters, could not have been starker. I told the story of ordinary people, who coped with the floods and carried on with their daily existence with remarkable resilience – unimaginable to someone living in the comfort of a developed society. My pictures also won the first prize in World Press Photo’s news features and the Paris Match prize for reportage.' (World Press Photo retrospective Children's Jury exhibition, 2003)

About the photographer

Charles Hires

Charles 'Chip' Hires (Pennsylvania, USA, 1953), started working as a photographer for the college newspaper, while studying psychology at the University of Florida. After graduat...

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