Cover Osteuropa 8-9/2007

In Osteuropa 8-9/2007

The Aral Sea Disaster
An Obituary for Multilateral Crisis Management

Jenniver Sehring

Deutsche Fassung


The Aral Sea is the scene of one of the greatest manmade environmental disasters. In just 50 years, it lost ninetenths of its water. In a territory larger than Germany, 4 million people suffer from salt storms with pesticide residue. The child mortality rate is one of the highest in the world. Typhus, hepatitis and cancer are disproportionately frequent. To this come serious socio-economic problems. All the rescue attempts of the past 15 years have failed. Multilateral crisis management has collapsed. The states on the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, which feed the Aral Sea, continue to draw enormous amounts of water for agriculture contrary to all self-imposed obligations.

(Osteuropa 8-9/2007, pp. 497–510)