Silver / 2012 / Press / Feature Story

Dzud, Environmental Migrants

  • Photographer
    Alessandro Grassani

Mongolia, 3.000.000 inhabitants, almost half of them lives on top of each other in the capital, Ulaan Baator, which hosts over 1.200.000 citizens. The climate changes this country is experiencing reinforce an already dramatic social situation and pose a serious challenge for the pride and identity of a nation which finds its roots in the nomadic lifestyle. With the Dzud, the hard Mongolian winter, becoming longer and snowier, thousands of nomad herdsmen, who saw their animals die of cold, were forced to move their Gher to migrate towards Ulaan Baator, in the slum which has developed around the city known as â??Gher Districtâ??, from the traditional Mongolian tents the herdsmen abandoning the rural areas bring with them, being the only property they have left. Only in 2010, during one of the harsher Dzuds, 8 million animals died and 39,000 herdsmen had no choice but to migrate towards Ulaan Baator.

Alessandro Grassani (b. 1977, Italy). In 2011 he begins a new long-term project called -Environmental migrants, the last illusion- documenting around the world the life of the people forced to migrate because of climate changes and with no alternative to the illusion of a better life in the city. His works has been published among other by Sunday Times and Time magazine, exhibited at International Photographic Festival of Arles and awarded at Sony World Photography Awards, Luis Valtuena 15th International Humanitarian Photography Award, Days Japan International and International Photography Awards.