Aerial view of sand dunes threatening to engulf homes

This aerial view shows dunes moving from the upper right to the lower left of the image. Dunes have already buried a portion of a roadway, and they now threaten to engulf homes.

The group of houses depicted in the photo belong to an extended family, including a great-grandmother and great-grandchildren. There are tens of dunes migrating towards their homes, making it difficult to haul water and for the family to go to and from work, school, and to the doctor (some family members have health problems, including diabetes). Many different roads have been made to and from their homes, only to be wiped out by moving sand. Sand dunes buried the family outhouse in 2011. When the wind blows, it is impossible to spend any time outside as visibility is near zero, and breathing dust can have serious health consequences. The family has looked to other relatives in hopes that they might be able to move, but these relatives are having similar sand and dust issues on their land as well. As the dunes continue to migrate at about 120 feet per year, eventually the homes will be covered with sand, which often causes them to collapse. There is no funding available within current government programs to assist the family in finding a new home. They will be sad to move, as some family members were born within a mile of their current housing. Photo by Margaret Hiza Redsteer, U.S. Geological Survey. Used with permission.

Last modified
23 June 2015 - 10:01am