Subina posed as a Buddhist from Nepal delivering food aid and was the first journalist to reach the area. She spoke to shocked survivors in villages along the river as the victims lay unattended on the riverbanks. The survivors had no food, water or government help and a week after Cyclone Nargis, were becoming desperate. Subina produced, filmed, edited and voiced the report herself.
Subina's report is among three finalists in the news category that also includes an ITN documentary on Somalia and another Al Jazeera report on a Kenyan slum. One of the judges praised Subina's 'enterprising news gathering', adding: 'This is a powerful piece with some extraordinary shots. But at the same time the restraint of the reporting matches the quiet dignity with which the villagers share their stories with an outsider.'
Subina is based in Nepal and was trained in journalism in the US and India. She has been working with documentary films since 2001. To bypass Burmese controls, Subina had to sneak in on a tourist visa and sidetrack officials, who were on the look out for foreign journalists, on her way to the parts worst affected by the cyclone.
Says Subina: "The sun was relentless and it was difficult to ignore the smell of the decaying bodies. And yet, the dark cloud made everything look so beautiful. After talking to the villagers, I came back feeling helpless, angry and sad. Sometimes the journey down the river still haunts me."
The Rory Peck Awards recognises the work of freelance cameramen and camerawomen in TV news gathering and current affairs worldwide. The Awards ceremony on Thursday evening in London was attended by senior broadcasters, freelancers, bureau chiefs, commissioning editors, diplomats and journalists.
Besides the news category, there is also a prize for freelance news footage on humanitarian issues and another one for in-depth features.