Besieged by the Gobi

by Luca Catalano Gonzaga

Mongolia, although always prone to extreme weather conditions, is in the grip of substantial climate changes. It rains less and less, rivers are drying out and in the past few years harsh winters were recorded, the followed by long periods of drought. The phenomenon of desertification caused by temperature increase has remarkably intensified the progressive expansion of the Gobi Desert. Most herds, which are the only asset of its nomadic population, cannot be fed due to the lack of grasslands, and this has already caused the death of thousands of livestock. Without animals, Mongolians are not able to eat, dress, warm up, build or move. Those who lost their cattle did not only lose their livelihood, but also the possibility of survival for their own family. Thousands of Mongolian shepherds are therefore forced to move to the capital city of Ulan-Bator. The suburbs have become a tent area of impoverished people fleeing from deserts and steppes, camped in precarious sanitary conditions, without access to safe drinking water or sanitation facilities. (text by Luca Catalano Gonzaga).


A selection of photos from the archive of Luca Catalano Gonzaga is available as collector’s prints. The goal of print selling is to contribute to the realization of the photographic projects of Witness Image that narrate the great transformations of our time.