If one were revisiting the list of the Seven Wonders of the World, Uzbekistan and the Silk Road region would offer many candidates. The Registan in Samarkand, the central square in Bukhara, the Ichan Kala in Khiva, all offer architectural marvel after marvel. Our task, sadly, is to consider wonders of another kind. Any list of the worst disasters of the world would also rank Uzbekistan at the top, making clear reference to the massive transformation of western Uzbekistan (and Kazakhstan) from home to the fourth largest inland sea to host of a barren desert. All of the waterborne life force of the Aral Sea has been swept from the region and converted into dry sands and dusty winds. The void that remains is a scar on nature of unprecedented magnitude. In the Aral's collapse, the disaster has sucked into its vacuum the peoples of the region, their lives and livelihood, their health and well being, and certainly their hopes and aspirations. And it has created regional and global issues of great urgency and sensitivity.
Edelstein, M. (2012), "Section one The Multiple Disasters of the Aral Sea", Edelstein, M., Cerny, A. and Gadaev, A. (Ed.) Disaster by Design: The Aral Sea and its Lessons for Sustainability (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-4. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0196-1152(2012)0000020008Download as .RIS
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