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10 stunning landscape photos from the world’s toughest places

March 5, 2013

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    Lloyd Smith/AGWM Builders Int&#039;l for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Haiti: Much of Haiti's natural landscape has been degraded from decades of deforestation and poor environmental practices. We're working with farmers to restore the land, building rock walls and planting trees to prevent erosion and protect communities from floods. Photo: Lloyd Smith/AGWM Builders Int'l for Mercy Corps
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    Miguel Samper for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Afghanistan: In this mountainous nation struggling to emerge from decades of instability, 85% of the population relies on agriculture livelihoods. Mercy Corps is working with farmers to increase crop yields, link growers to markets, and keep livestock healthy. Photo: Miguel Samper for Mercy Corps
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    Matt Styslinger/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Indonesia: This island nation has no shortage of gorgeous beaches. But these coastlines, where most of the population lives, are extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels. Mercy Corps is working to identify at-risk areas and mitigate the impact of natural disasters before they happen. Photo: Matt Styslinger/Mercy Corps
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    Colin Spurway/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Kyrgyzstan: Because this country's terrain is predominantly mountainous, less than 8% of the land there is cultivated. To make the most of the environment, Mercy Corps helps families manage home gardens, grow high-quality fruit and raise livestock to boost incomes. Photo: Colin Spurway/Mercy Corps
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    Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Georgia: This country is still trying to find its way after the dissipation of the Soviet Union more than twenty years ago. Most families rely on subsistence farming; we help increase their income by improving agricultural training and access to business services. Photo: Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps  </span>
    India: From the soaring mountain peaks of Kashmir to the terraced tea gardens of Darjeeling and Assam's humid lowlands, Mercy Corps is helping families in some of India's most remote regions get better access to financial services, medicine and education. Photo: Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps
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    Amy Spindler/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Tajikistan: Despite its majestic beauty, The World Bank identified Tajikistan as the Central Asian country with the greatest vulnerability to climate change. Mercy Corps is working to help remote villages create response plans for natural disasters before they strike. Photo: Amy Spindler/Mercy Corps
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    Geoff Oliver Bugbee for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Ethiopia: Frequent drought and unpredictable harvests consistently put families in the Horn of Africa at risk of going hungry. We are helping build resistance to the harsh weather by training farmers to grow drought-resistant crops and safely store rainwater. Photo: Geoff Oliver Bugbee for Mercy Corps
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    Miguel Samper for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Colombia: This lush rainforest has been the battleground for a brutal, decades-long civil war. Mercy Corps gets basic necessities to families displaced by guerrilla attacks, and helps former child soldiers start over. Photo: Miguel Samper for Mercy Corps
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    Sean Sheridan for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Central African Republic: The heart of Africa is haunted by conflict. Unpredictable attacks by the violent Lord's Resistance Army have displaced about 250,000 people. Mercy Corps is working to help children heal from trauma and teach women their basic rights. Photo: Sean Sheridan for Mercy Corps

We work in some of the toughest places in the world, but their incredible settings are a reminder of what lies beyond poverty, conflict and disaster.

I sat down with Phil Ottum, our Photo Specialist, to take a look at some outstanding landscape shots captured during visits to Mercy Corps programs across the globe. We are helping these communities move beyond crisis so that some day soon, the world won't focus on their struggles, but on their stunning vistas and vibrant cultures.