CHRIS DE BODE | Panos Pictures



Sourcing fuel has been a major problem for the 106,000 Bhutanese refugees living in southern Nepal. The forests in the Jhapa and Morang districts where they live could never sustainably provide the firewood needs of such a large population, and until recently the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) was distributing 80,000 litres of kerosene a week for cooking use.

To tackle the problem the Dutch Refugee Council funded tests using solar energy. They were so successful that 2,500 solar cookers are now in use in the camps benefiting 30,000 refugees. The cookers consist of a reflective, aluminium, parabolic-shaped device that concentrates the sun's rays onto cooking pots placed on a frame in the centre of the dish. The dish has to be adjusted to the new position of the sun every 10 minutes or so. It takes about 55 minutes to prepare a meal of rice, lentils and vegetables on a sunny day.

The Council plans to supply a total of 6,300 cookers benefiting more than 75,000 refugees. The cookers have alleviated pressure on the scarce natural resources of the region and reduced kerosene consumption by 75%, with a consequent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Just as importantly, they will also reduce the incidence of respiratory illnesses caused by smoke inhalation, a major health problem in the developing world.

Nepal, 2007
Bhutanese refugees. Boy cleaning a solarcooker dish. He has to do that every day to get the best out of it © Chris de Bode

Chris de Bode, currently living in Amsterdam, Holland
Born 1965, Hattem.

While being a rock climber Chris started to pick up photography. After a trip to Palestine he decided to focus his work more on documentary photography.

In the last fifteen years the stories he has worked on have taken him to places like Lebanon, Madagascar, Uganda, Nigeria, the Phillipines, Colombia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and, of course, all around Holland.

In addition to various prizes in the Netherlands he has won a World Press Photo Award with a sports picture taken during the Tour de France.

He decided to continue covering cycling tours but only in countries outside the usual Western circuits focusing more on social and political issues than the sports event itself. Chris travelled to Cuba, Senegal, Eritrea, Colombia and China to cover the respective national tours.This body of work resulted in the book “Tour du Monde” which appeared in March 2008

The photoseries “ Fire without smoke” was commishioned by the Dutch Refugee Foundation.

2002 - L'Equipe
2001 - World Press Photo Award

2008 - Tour du Monde

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