Azerbaijan's financial boom from oil and natural gas exploration has transformed most of Baku into a modern metropolis. While the capital center has redefined itself with modern architecture and Western-styled boutiques, the suburbs are continuing to decay into industrial ruin among hazardous environments.
Heavy rains this month caused flooding in 20 villages surrounding the Kura River, Azerbaijan's main water artery, which enters the country from Georgia, where it is called the Mtkvari. The river was gaining water at the fastest rate in a century, according to officials – roughly 2,415 cubic meters per second.
Poor families of builders and former factory workers live in the shacks of this neighborhood of Sumgayit. Most people here are unemployed due to the drastic reduction of construction projects between Sumgayit and Baku. The homes are not equipped with running water, gas or toilets.
When it comes to populations affected by drugs in Central Asia, and in particular the southwestern Kyrgyz city of Osh, women drug users have long sat at the bottom of the priority list. Despite the attention and funding given to the topic of drugs in the region, much of the focus is on big-picture issues such as the eradication of heroin production and trafficking.
Located in the center of Baku, Mahalla (Arabic for neighborhood community) is a historically poor neighborhood where people have lived their entire lives in small, flat roofed houses. Most neighborhood residents are engaged in petty trade and businesses run out of their homes.