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Climate Change Is Making This Bolivian Village a Ghost Town
September 1, 2017
SANTIAGO K, Bolivia — Someone's nearly always lived in Santiago K.
Cupped in the Bolivian highlands that border Chile, the small village is littered by centuries of conquest and expansion: from the pre-Incas, who ringed the surrounding hills with protective fortresses, to the gold-hungry Spanish conquistadors drawn to the region's mineral wealth.
But after centuries of settlement, Santiago K has become a ghost town. Drought, debt and climate change have squeezed roughly 80 percent of Santiago's residents from their homes in search of work and a better life.
Justino Calcina, 58, is one of the few who stayed behind. As mayor of Santiago, he stayed because he had to. Only community leaders and the very old remain.