Oxfam Ambassador Helena Christensen witnesses the impact of climate change in Nepal

Published: 22nd November 2010

Oxfam Global Ambassador and photographer Helena Christensen today completed a visit to Nepal with international agency, Oxfam, to raise awareness through her photography of the effects of climate change. 

Helena saw firsthand how desperately poor communities need financial aid in order to help them adapt to the effects of climate change. In the Terai region Helena visited and photographed villages that are experiencing more extreme and unpredictable weather patterns. Erratic weather such as more intense ‘cold waves’, searing droughts and heavy bursts of rainfall are all causing the destruction of crops and livelihoods.

Her trip to Nepal with Oxfam follows a visit to Peru last year and her attendance at the climate talks in Copenhagen. 

“So we are back again, this time in Nepal talking with people who are suffering the same ongoing consequences of climate change. Despite the fact that there is greater awareness of climate change world leaders have failed to make the big decisions needed which has left our poorest people increasingly vulnerable,” said Helena Christensen.

“One of the women I spoke to, 55 year old Kamalawati, told me her home was destroyed during a flood and they had to build a new house with mud and bamboo. She doesn’t have the money to build it on raised concrete platforms and is scared for the next time the rains fall heavily,” Helena added. 

The trip comes just a week before the latest round of the UN climate change talks begin in Cancun, Mexico.

Helena said; “It's deeply frustrating that nothing has changed - it's like we are watching another groundhog day but the frightening reality is that this is costing thousands of lives now. In Cancun at the climate conference next week, Governments should not be allowed to once again avoid taking the decisions needed.

“Countries all over the world are drowning yet none of the powerful nations dare to be the first to throw in the lifesavers. They have to deliver real results that will get a climate deal back on track. Progress on a climate fund to help vulnerable people adapt to drastic weather changes is imperative and furthermore will restore trust in the negotiations,” Helena added.

Her photographs from Peru and Nepal will be exhibited during 2011 - 2012 in a number of locations around the world. 

Scott Faiia, Oxfam's Country Director in Nepal said: "It is crucial that the world is made aware of the disastrous effects climate change is having on poor communities and we welcome Helena's commitment to meet people here and document their stories. Her visit is timely – as the UN talks begin next week it is crucial that action is taken to stop run away climate change and protect vulnerable people."

Countries all over the world are drowning yet none of the powerful nations dare to be the first to throw in the lifesavers.
Helena Christensen

Notes to editors

Download photographs of Helena in Rampurwa, Nawalparasi and her own photographs: http://www.4shared.com/dir/OSPw8EDU/Oxfam_Ambassador_Helena_Christ.html

Helena Christensen has signed an open letter along with seven other major artists and celebrities from across the globe joining Oxfam in their call to international negotiators at the UN talks in Cancun to protect the world’s poorest from climate catastrophe. For further information on this letter please contact: Ben Grossman-Cohen Tel: +202 777 2907 Mobile: +202 629 6018 bgrossman-cohen@oxfamamerica.org

The next UN Climate talks begin in Cancun, Mexico in one week – from the 29th November – 10th December

Oxfam is campaigning for action on climate finance at these talks to help the world's most vulnerable people adapt to a changing climate and pave the way to a fair, ambitious and binding deal which is needed to tackle climate change.

Helena Christensen's photos of climate change in Peru (2009)

Contact information

For more information, please contact Georgette Ginn, tel: +44 (0)1865 472037 gginn@oxfam.org.uk