China's death valley, April 10

10 Apr 2014

Hundreds of rivers have vanished in Gansu in the northwest, one of the country’s driest regions. Officials in Beijing blame persistent droughts in the area on climate change, which they say has wreaked havoc on scarce water resources. Critics point out that the country’s headlong drive to build its industrial prowess and extensive dam construction are equally significant factors. In Minqin, people say the problem is not new, with the Shiyang river disappearing not because of temperature rises but because a vast reservoir built upstream two decades ago to irrigate a large farm cut off their supply. Reuters photographer Carlos Barria captures the plight of farmers desperately trying to eke out a living in a parched land.