Vanishing Act

Kazakhs and Uzbeks have been on different paths since 1987, when the Aral Sea split into northern and southern halves. The completion of Kazakhstan’s Kokaral Dam in 2005 worsened the divide, reviving the northern sea but cutting off the southern sea from the Syr Darya river. By 2014, irrigation and drought had caused the southern Aral’s eastern, shallower lobe to dry up entirely.

Map of the Aral Sea