Science

Picturing Pakistan's Floods: A Photographer Looks Back

A Pakistani man and boy,  displaced by floods, walk through flood waters on Aug. 22, 2010 in the village of Baseera near Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan. i i

hide captionA Pakistani man and boy, displaced by floods, walk through flood waters on Aug. 22, 2010 in the village of Baseera near Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
A Pakistani man and boy,  displaced by floods, walk through flood waters on Aug. 22, 2010 in the village of Baseera near Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.

A Pakistani man and boy, displaced by floods, walk through flood waters on Aug. 22, 2010 in the village of Baseera near Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Haiti, Chile, Eyjafjallajokull — 2010 was a year when catastrophic natural disasters felt in abundance and seemed to span the entire calendar year. With the media focused on the dire conditions these disasters caused, the devastating floods that swept across Pakistan, from July through mid-September, seemed to have garnered far less attention.

Photographer Daniel Berehulak was there for much of it, shooting in-depth, long-term coverage of a disaster that killed an estimated 1,700, affected more than 20 million and at one point left one-fifth of the country underwater.

  • Flood victims scramble for food rations as they battle the downwash from a Pakistan Army helicopter during relief operations on September 13, 2010 in the village of Goza in Dadu district in Sindh province, Pakistan.
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    Flood victims scramble for food rations as they battle the downwash from a Pakistan Army helicopter during relief operations on September 13, 2010 in the village of Goza in Dadu district in Sindh province, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
  • Land washed away by flooding is seen from a Pakistan Army helicopter during relief operations on September 13, 2010 in the village of Goza in Dadu district in Sindh province, Pakistan.
    Hide caption
    Land washed away by flooding is seen from a Pakistan Army helicopter during relief operations on September 13, 2010 in the village of Goza in Dadu district in Sindh province, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
  • A Pakistani man surveys damage to his flood affected home on August 2, 2010 in Nowshera, Pakistan.
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    A Pakistani man surveys damage to his flood affected home on August 2, 2010 in Nowshera, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
  • Flood victims scramble to recover water bottles dropped from a Pakistan Air force helicopter on August 2, 2010 in Nowshera, Pakistan.
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    Flood victims scramble to recover water bottles dropped from a Pakistan Air force helicopter on August 2, 2010 in Nowshera, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
  • Flood victims scramble for food rations, dropped by Pakistan Army soldiers, as they battle the downwash from a Pakistan Army helicopter during relief operations on September 13, 2010 on the Suprio Bund near the village of Goza in Dadu district in Sindh province, Pakistan.
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    Flood victims scramble for food rations, dropped by Pakistan Army soldiers, as they battle the downwash from a Pakistan Army helicopter during relief operations on September 13, 2010 on the Suprio Bund near the village of Goza in Dadu district in Sindh province, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
  • Young girls, whose families were displaced by floods, sit on a makeshift bed, as they take shelter on higher ground of a bund on August 29, 2010 in Thatta, near Hyderabad  in Sindh province, Pakistan.
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    Young girls, whose families were displaced by floods, sit on a makeshift bed, as they take shelter on higher ground of a bund on August 29, 2010 in Thatta, near Hyderabad in Sindh province, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
  • Villagers displaced from their homes by flooding travel through flood waters on the back of a tractor on August 11, 2010 on the outskirts of Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.
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    Villagers displaced from their homes by flooding travel through flood waters on the back of a tractor on August 11, 2010 on the outskirts of Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
  • A boy walks through a flooded yard carrying water prior to Maghrib prayer and Iftar or breaking fast as it is called during the month of Ramadan on August 21, 2010 in the village of Vasandawali south of Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.
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    A boy walks through a flooded yard carrying water prior to Maghrib prayer and Iftar or breaking fast as it is called during the month of Ramadan on August 21, 2010 in the village of Vasandawali south of Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
  • Villagers, displaced from their homes by flooding, hold empty containers as they queue for soup and relief rations on August 25, 2010 in the Sultan Colony Army flood relief camp near Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.
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    Villagers, displaced from their homes by flooding, hold empty containers as they queue for soup and relief rations on August 25, 2010 in the Sultan Colony Army flood relief camp near Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
  • A young Pakistani girl, displaced by floods, and stranded on land only accessible by air, sleeps covered in flies, on a makeshift bed on August 27, 2010 in Garhi Khairo near Jacobabad in Sindh province, Pakistan.
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    A young Pakistani girl, displaced by floods, and stranded on land only accessible by air, sleeps covered in flies, on a makeshift bed on August 27, 2010 in Garhi Khairo near Jacobabad in Sindh province, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
  • Pakistani villagers perform the Maghrib prayer, as they seek refuge on top of the roof of a Madrasa surrounded by flood waters, after Iftar or breaking fast in the month of Ramadan, on August 21, 2010 in the village of Vasandawali south of Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.
    Hide caption
    Pakistani villagers perform the Maghrib prayer, as they seek refuge on top of the roof of a Madrasa surrounded by flood waters, after Iftar or breaking fast in the month of Ramadan, on August 21, 2010 in the village of Vasandawali south of Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
  • A Pakistani man and boy,  displaced by floods, walk through flood waters on August 22, 2010 in the village of Baseera near Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.
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    A Pakistani man and boy, displaced by floods, walk through flood waters on August 22, 2010 in the village of Baseera near Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan.
    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

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Berehulak's images help translate these unthinkable numbers into something more comprehensible. His photo story was recently awarded first prize in the World Press Photo Contest, in the "People In The News" category. The India-based Australian photographer writes in an email:

"Covering the exodus of millions of people displaced, having been left homeless, hungry, stranded, desperate, lining roads begging for food, was an extremely emotionally taxing experience ... the fear and helplessness in their faces epitomized the tragedy of the floods."

Berehulak covered the floods for six weeks, chasing the rising waters from Khyber Paktunkhwa in the north to Sindh province in the south, often traveling by boat or helicopter, as mobility was limited. The World Press Photo winners were announced last week.

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