Jashim Salam photographed the residents of flooded houses in Bangladesh. His pictures show how man is exposed to the water masses – and the silent terror that triggers the disaster.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Salam, you photograph people in Bangladesh , whose homes are flooded on a regular basis – including in Chittagong City, your home town. What are the causes of these floods?
Salam: It started very slowly, five or six years ago.At that time, the water flooded for the first time in the homes and stayed a few days. This has been repeated every year from June to October. The monsoon brings a lot of rain at this time. In addition to the climate change. The water is rising year after year later.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How can the residents to protect themselves against the floods?
Salam: You try to back up a makeshift their homes. But most have no money and can not do much. I live with my parents, our house is constantly flooded. We provide the electrical equipment somewhere further up from where the water does not reach them.
Jashim Salam was born in 1978 in Chittagong City and is a documentary photographer from Bangladesh. He studied photography and worked for numerous newspapers and news agencies. His photographs are exhibited including France, China, Great Britain and the United States.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: That’s incredibly dangerous.
Salam: Yes, that’s it. A child has even received an electric shock and died.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What have the parents done?
Salam: The parents are very poor, who can not do much.
SP iegel ONLINE: How please?
Salam: The people who need to know that they do not get their due.They have many problems: They are poor, live in shacks and slums.Some do not even have beds in which they can sleep sleep directly on the floor. And when night comes the flood, then they wake up to the water. As long as it is on the ground, they can not sleep for a few days.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why no one protested and complained a help?
Salam: People do not come into their own, even if they protest. The government does not help, she says, the flood was not always there, only a few days. The politicians have apparently not yet realized how bad the situation really is.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The water should be very dirty.
Salam: It is very dirty, it comes even from different regions, is often salty. People get rashes from it. My family and I, we are the last time also got sick. We had terrible diarrhea. The whole day routine changed.One has to protect his things and constantly clean everything again. The location is really very complicated.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why do not you pull away?
Salam: I’m born and raised in Chittagong. I know this place very well.We have very great fear of the future. I think we will eventually have to leave and go away the house. But we do not know where to go, the water penetrates even deeper into the city before. Here many offices and shops are flooded. In addition, more and more people come to the cities because they can not grow because of the salty water on the land.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Are you afraid that buildings collapse?
Salam: The water damaged the houses. But still no building is therefore collapsed. This probably needs to happen first, so that people really understand the seriousness of the situation.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How and what do you live in Bangladesh?
Salam: I’m a freelance photographer and may even live on, even though the jobs have declined lately.The magazines and newspapers are no longer willing to pay so much money for photographers as before. In the meantime, anyone can upload images in his network. Beyond that, I just wish I could protect our house better or build a new one. But that costs a lot of time and money. These tides make me just crazy.