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The people of the central Asian nation of Karakalpakstan are being driven out by two of the 21st-century’s biggest challenges—ecological disaster and resurgent nationalism

By Jack Shenker   December 2010

The Aral sea has shrunk to 10 per cent of its original size

Listen: Jason Larkin discusses his photographs of Karakalpakstan

Ziyo hunts by day and flies by night, with a polished Winchester shotgun tucked under one arm and a cigarette between his lips. The van he drives can fit up to ten people, 12 at a push, and for the past 15 years it’s nearly always been full for the border run. Under the cover of darkness, Ziyo wends his human cargo past empty houses, which are isolated at first but then tumble together into hamlets, all weather-cowed and…

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