Voices of the River Teesta

teesta III dam

The Teesta III dam was completed in 2017. Last year, it was destroyed when a an upstream glacial lake overflowed and burst. Photo of the dam while under construction by International Rivers.

  • Voices of the River Teesta

Last October, the 60-meter Teesta III dam in Northeast India’s Sikkim state was destroyed when torrential rains caused an upstream glacial lake to overflow and burst. The resulting floods killed more than 40 people, and damaged homes and critical infrastrucuture. Indigenous activists have protested against the construction of major hydropower projects in the region for decades, warning of the catastrophic impacts that dams, railway tunnels, and industry activities have on the fragile and sacred ecosystem that is especially prone to seismic activity and landslides, and increasingly to climate change-related flooding events.

Mayalmit Lepcha, director of of the film Voices of Teesta, and Minket Lepcha, a member of Affected Citizens of Teesta, join Terra Verde host Fiona McLeod to discuss their work as activists and storytellers to protect their ancestral homelands in Northeast India, and to advocate for Indigenous communities most impacted by disasters like the Teesta III dam break. They also share important lessons from the Teesta disaster that could help inform the work of decision-makers, community members, and individuals around the world.

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