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Photo Story: How climate change is affecting communities in Nepal

8 December 2009

Jared Ferrie, MRG's Regional Information Officer for Asia, illustates how climate change is effecting communities in Nepal.

Click on images to view captions.

Langmoche Glacier, Nepal

Due to global warming, the Himalayan glaciers are melting faster than any in the world. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has documented glaciers retreating by as much as 74 metres per year. The melting ice forms lakes such as Lake Dig Tsho at the foot of the retreating Langmoche glacier in Nepal, pictured here. Photo courtesy: Samjwal Bajracharya, a scientist with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

The aftermath of flooding from Lake Dig Tsho

Sometimes these lakes overflow, causing massive flooding and endangering indigenous communities. In 1985, Lake Dig Tsho overflowed and washed away much of Langmoche village. The damage is visible in this photo taken in April 2008. Photo courtesy: Samjwal Bajracharya, a scientist with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Women from the Tamang ethnic minority

Climate change is also endangering food security in Himalayan communities such as Dunche, in Nepal’s Rasuwa District. In this photo women of the Tamang ethnic minority pound and sift wheat.

Wangele and Mendo Tamang

Wangele Tamang, pictured here with his wife, Mendo, and their children, told MRG he was only able to grow enough food to feed his family for two months. He will have to find other work in order to buy food.

The Tharu in the Chitwan

Dramatically changing weather patterns caused by global warming are affecting agricultural production for ethnic minorities throughout Nepal, such as the Tharu in the Chitwan district.

The Mekong in Cambodia, one of the largest rivers on the continent

Melting Himalayan glaciers will eventually affect the lives of 1.3 billion people in Asia, according to ICIMOD. Ten of the continent’s largest rivers, including the Ganges, the Yangtze, and the Mekong (pictured here in Cambodia), depend on snow and ice melt from the Himalayas for as much as half of their annual flow. As the snow and ice caps disappear in the Himalayas, communities throughout Asia will lose much of the water they depend on for their livelihoods.