by Stephen M. Bland
At 7 AM on a recent Monday morning, the staff of the HALO Trust gathered at their compound in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. This summer, tension has been running high amid frequent exchanges of gunfire along the line of contact separating Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.
Rafat Aimuratov is on a crusade to save Muynak.
The former bustling fisheries hub in western Uzbekistan is ground zero in what is widely acknowledged to be among the worst environmental disasters of the past century. Decades of intensive water-hungry cotton farming sapped the rivers filling the Aral Sea and left Muynak high and dry, dozens of kilometers from the shore.
If the town is to survive, believes Aimuratov, an ecologist, it will need to find new ways forward. That is now his life’s mission.
From a vantage point upon a hill, the recovery workers in the southern Kyrgyzstan settlement of Ayuu looked like burrowing ants. Beneath them lay the bodies of 24 people — some only toddlers — buried by a landslide big enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool 100 times over.
By Aktan Rysaliev
An especially harrowing season of flooding in Kazakhstan has displaced thousands and wrought widespread damage. The disaster response effort to date has been marked by public complaints and official recriminations.
April 21, 2017 - 10:11am, by Aktan Rysaliev
Areas of northern and central Kazakhstan has been hit by intense floods caused by heavy rainfall and overflowing rivers, forcing thousands to flee their homes.
The crisis began unfolding on April 11 with the outbreak of intense downfalls. Rivers bursting their banks have barred roads in several northern regions of the country, including around the capital, Astana.
A detailed account of the crisis has been provided by Sputnik news agency.
By Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska
On the 8.28 a.m. train to Terespol, a Polish town at the border with Belarus, Ali watches the barely changing landscape with indifference. This might be the twentieth time he has taken this train with his wife and three kids. Or maybe the twenty-first, he cannot quite remember.
by Helen Wright
When Dogoono’s only horse died early in the winter, she cried for days. But now the Mongolian herder keeps losing so many of her animals she does not have any tears left.
“I think how long can I cry for them? I have to be strong,” she said.
by Islam Shikhali and Durna Safarova
Water, or more accurately access to water, is just another weapon in the nearly 30-year conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno Karabakh territory.
When a 1994 ceasefire brought an end to active fighting between Azerbaijan, Armenia and ethnic Armenian separatists over Karabakh, Azerbaijan lost not only territory, but also access to the 560-million-cubic-meter Sarsang Reservoir.
by Anna Lelik
Months after an earthquake shook the Kara-Suu district of southern Kyrgyzstan, families whose homes were severely damaged are enduring the winter in repurposed cargo containers.
The surge of refugee crises across the globe is dampening prospects for Afghans stranded in Tajikistan of finding new safe havens any time soon.
Roughly 2,200 refugees from Afghanistan live in Tajikistan, and as conditions worsen in their home country, few contemplate returning. At the same time, those hoping to be resettled in a third country by the United Nations are growing used to disappointment.
One day in mid-July, Nazim brought a truckload of clothes and food to his home in Barsem, a village in the Pamir Mountains of east Tajikistan, in preparation for his wedding later in the summer.
The following afternoon, on July 16, a flash flood sent mud and debris tearing through Barsem, carrying away Nazim’s home along with those of around 80 other families.
No sooner had images of a hippopotamus lost on a central street in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi gone viral this summer than offers of financial help for recovery from the city’s June 13-14 flood began to pour in. Yet, today, with well over $8.3 million raised from a variety of sources, questions have surfaced about how transparently and effectively the government is managing the money.
Aman Sagidullaev fled Uzbekistan with his family in the summer of 2011. He had called for a referendum on independence for his native Karakalpakstan region in the country’s northwest. Apparently in response, Uzbek prosecutors charged him with embezzlement. After traveling to Russia, then to Kazakhstan, Sagidullaev has spent the last two years trying to obtain asylum in Kyrgyzstan.
He does not feel very welcome.
by David Trilling and Timur Toktonaliev
Pensioner Jyparkul Karaseyitova says she cannot afford meat anymore. At her local bazaar in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, the price for beef has jumped 9 percent in the last six weeks. And she is not alone feeling the pain of rising inflation. Butcher Aigul Shalpykova says her sales have fallen 40 percent in the last month. “If I usually sell 400 kilos of meat every month, in September I sold only 250 kilos,” she complained.
It is a tough climb to the weather station: The trail leads across snow-covered boulder fields and steep, icy slopes. But for four researchers from Kyrgyzstan’s Geology and Mineral Resources Agency, the six-hour climb to the Adygene Glacier weather station, perched at 3,600 meters above sea level, is routine. From there, they can monitor 18 growing lakes at the glacier snout in the mountains above Bishkek.
In 2013, as Syria’s civil war raged, 23-year-old Samar Abaza opted, like hundreds of thousands of his countrymen, to flee his home for safety abroad. Yet unlike most of the estimated 2.5 million Syrians who are now refugees, Abaza sought to build a new life in Abkhazia, another contested land.
The hardships of the recent past are taking a toll on ethnic Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan. Anecdotal evidence indicates Kyrgyz Uzbeks’ educational aspirations are shriveling.
Life for many Uzbeks living in Osh, Jalalabad and other southern areas took a drastic turn for the worse following inter-ethnic rioting in June 2010. Since then, Uzbeks continue to face discrimination, along with the loss of economic opportunities.
January 07, 2013
Tensions between the main ethnic groups of the Ferghana Valley flared again over the weekend, rekindling memories of clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in June 2010 that left hundreds dead and injured and caused widespread property damage.
Residents of the Uzbek enclave of Soh in southern Kyrgyzstan reportedly attacked Kyrgyz border guards and took Kyrgyz citizens hostage on January 5.
As a child, Feruza Alimova dreamed of becoming a lawyer so she could help disabled people.
But the 22-year-old cannot pursue a law degree because a bone deformity keeps her homebound. Her parents, who make a living growing cotton and tobacco in the Kyrgyzstani hamlet of Chekabad, in the Ferghana Valley, spend a large chunk of their income on expensive medications for Feruza and two other children suffering a similar bone condition.
As reported earlier by EurasiaNet.org, the arrival in Armenia of Armenian-Syrian refugees is creating some friction. Now, some politicians from both Armenia proper and Nagorno-Karabakh are floating a controversial remedy; encouraging those fleeing the Syrian violence to settle in the breakaway republic.