Where the Aral Sea used to be

A photographic report
by Johannes Ode

  Pictures taken in and around Muynak during autumn 1998, combined with pictures and paintings from around 30 years ago, when Muynak was a still a flourishing fishing town on an island at the southern part of the Aral sea in Uzbekistan.

Now the Aral sea has withdrawn more than 100 kilometers.
Irrigation for cotton production being the main cause.
In a classroom in Muynak children learn about the past of the Aral sea, the brave fishemen, and the ecological change.
Former fishermen catch small quantities of fish in shallow lakes which are only temporary filled with river water.
The fish canning factory used to be the biggest in Central-Asia. Now once in a while small quantities of fish are processed.
If you are interested in these or other pictures
from the Aral region and Uzbekistan,
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Health conditions are deteriorating. Especially for pregnant women and children.
TB, anemia and kidney deseases
are very common.
Most people take water from irrigation canals and wells of which the water is very salty and unhealthy.
Pictures  on this site cannot be reproduced without prior agreement by  Johannes Ode

MSF is giving support to the people in the Aral Region.
Their website is:
Other photographic reports by
Johannes Ode
Cotton in Uzbekistan
See pictures on
Water Issue
Last change of this page: 22 march 2000