The Big Thirsty

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Southwest China is in the throes of a drought that is expected to last until May. Above, a young boy stands in the middle of a dried-out reservoir in Guiyang, Guizhou province, on Feb. 2.


Every day more than 4,000 children around the world die from diseases caused by poor water sanitation according to recently released U.N. findings. Here a girl washes her muddied sandals along a dirty water canal in the Nairobi slum of Kibera on March 21.


Above, a Chinese fishing boat is berthed along a dried-up river bank on the Yangtze on Jan. 5. The economy of the Yangtze River basin has suffered greatly over the past two decades as the region has experienced unprecedented flooding, heat waves, and drought.



A man works the desiccated marshland outside Basra, Iraq, on Nov. 19, 2009. Farmers in the area have seen a significant decline in the marsh's productivity as successive droughts have driven away many animal populations.


Pakistan is currently afflicted by a water shortage caused by reduced rainfall. Above, a young girl drinks water from a hand pump in an Islamabad slum on March 22.


People and animals alike have suffered dearly as a result of the drought in Yunnan and Guizhou, China. Above, a buffalo rests on the dried bed of a reservoir in Kunming, Yunnan, on Feb. 24.



Above, a woman shields her face as she bicycles through a Beijing sandstorm on March 20. The sandstorm was due to the severe drought that has been plaguing Mongolia and northern China.  


A Bedouin Arab follows his camels down an almost-dry river bed polluted by agricultural runoff, on April 14, 2009, near Jericho in the West Bank. Water levels in underground aquifers and the Sea of Galilee, which provide water for Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians, have been drastically depleted over the last decade.


Brazilian fisherman Elson de Oliveira, hauls a dead alligator into his boat at Reis Lake, in Manaus, Amazonas state, on Dec. 3, 2009. Plummeting water oxygen levels due to a severe drought have led to thousands of fish dying along the Manaquiri River.


A dog walks through water and trash on Jan. 18 in the aftermath of January's devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Delivering water has been one of the major challenges in providing relief to the poverty-stricken country.


Khurelsukh, a shepherd, stands next to some of his dead livestock on March 8 in Bayantsogt, Mongolia. Most of Mongolia is suffering from a dzud, a phenomenon of a severely cold winter following a summer drought. This has left insufficient grazing grounds for livestock, of which 2.7 million have already died.


Locals load drums with government-distributed potable water in northern Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on March 17. A water shortage followed the collapse of the Los Laureles and Concepcion dams, which supply more than a million people in the area with water.



The Los Angeles Aqueduct carries water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which have received less snow than normal, to major urban areas of southern California on May 9, 2008, near Lone Pine, California. Dry conditions across the American West have spurred water rationing, hurt crop production, and doubled the prevalence of wildfires.

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