The Wind and the Water, filmed by Chris Symes and Joel Sommazzi in India in 2010, and co-produced with lead researcher Dr. Joe Hill, seeks to give voice to villagers living in disaster prone areas in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. The state of Odisha is one amongst eight of India’s states that the newly developed Multidimensional Poverty Index (University of Oxford) claims together account for more poor people than the 26 poorest African states combined.
The documentary follows a UNDP-funded research project, "Socio-political and environmental dimensions of vulnerability and recovery in Coastal Orissa: Critical lessons since the 1999 super-cyclone", and presents an overview of some of the project’s findings. The research project was developed and led by Dr. Vasudha Chhotray, of the School of International Development (DEV), University of East Anglia, UK.
The documentary and the research project cover two research sites. The first site, on the coastline of the Bay of Bengal, was in October 1999 subjected to a violent 36-hour super-cyclone, with winds of up to 260 km/h. A seven metre high tidal wave surged more than 20km inland, bringing massive destruction and death. The Red Cross estimated that over ten million people were affected by the super-cyclone, and over ten thousand people lost their lives. The second site, located within the Mahanadi’s Deltaic region, suffered severe floods in 2008, causing embankments to breach in 22 locations. According to the Government of India, some 4.5 million people were affected in 19 districts, with over 200 thousand houses damaged or destroyed, and about 100 deaths.
Villagers speak about the events as they occurred, about the effects on their livelihoods and lives since, and about efforts made by the government and NGOs in the period following these disasters.
A big thank you to all who took part in the making of the film, and to UNDP researchers Sudhansu Behera and Rajib Biswal for their commitment to making this film a reality.