What is the human cost of climate crisis? The Weight of Water answers


In 2018, when Nilima Vallangi visited Nepal for the third time to write travel articles and photography, she briefly heard about the flooding caused by the outburst of glacial lakes and how climate change is affecting people in the happiest country in South Asia.

By reading and researching carbon emissions and global warming, she has been hit hard by fears about the climate. “I was very worried and scared, thinking it really sounds bad. Why doesn’t anyone do anything about it? Why is this not a priority? “. I didn’t have enough information about climate change. I was worried and had no opportunity to express my thoughts or concerns, ”says Vallangi, writer and freelance photographer.

Her first documentary, The Weight of Water, currently shown at the Climate Crisis Film Festival, is an attempt to document how climate change has impacted the daily lives of Nepalis. The 68-minute documentary, co-produced and directed by British documentary filmmaker DJ Phillips, follows three plots that highlight three different issues across three geographic regions of Nepal.

Related to the theme of water, the film follows the life of a mother who faces health problems as she goes to fetch water for almost three hours every day, a family that lost a daughter to a flood, and a football team. who fights a flooded training field every year.

The story of Kamala is the story of over one hundred thousand women in Nepal who spend hours fetching water. A 2016 report from the Nepal Institute of Medicine and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) found that about 6% of Nepalese women suffer from uterine prolapse or weakened muscles and tissues in the pelvis. Doctors explain that early marriages, multiple births in a short time and hard work after childbirth are the causes of uterine prolapse.

Although the Supreme Court of Nepal declared uterine prolapse a human rights issue in 2008, the Amnesty International report noted that “the government failed to eliminate gender discrimination underlying the causes of uterine prolapse, thus preventing Nepalese women from enjoying their sexual and reproductive rights. … … “

Nepal’s diverse topography has made the country vulnerable to geological and climate-related disasters such as landslides, flash floods and droughts. Research by the Asian Development Bank has shown that Nepal will face a loss of nearly 10% of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) by 2100 due to events caused by climate change.

How to record stories about climate change?

Filmmaker Phillips says the film is a snapshot of a situation. “In this film, we wanted to pay tribute to the history, justice of the country, and we wanted to pay tribute to the people,” he says.

When the team met the family of Sanchana, a 13-year-old girl who had been washed away by the 2019 floods, they were still coping with the sudden loss. “I am very careful not to intimidate. I try to be relatively invisible, quiet, in the background and always try to let things develop. We made them relive that moment and bring back the memories they were trying to come to terms with. So it was a challenge. But I think you just need to be patient and empathetic. And let it happen, ”says Philips

The team planned to conduct physical examinations with NGOs and organizations in Nepal. “Our original plan was to cover the four regions of Nepal – plains, hills, hills and snowy areas. We have applied for funding and hope to go to the Himalayas and film something there. The next projects will definitely be related to glaciers and glacial lakes, ”adds Vallangi.


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