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Vast sandstorms expose Mongolia's long-ignored ecological crisis

Desertification threatens largely agricultural country of 3.4m people

A woman walks past Drum Tower during morning rush hour as Beijing is hit by a sandstorm on March 15.    © Reuters

People across northern China battled dust-laden winds and orange-tinted skies earlier this month as the biggest sandstorm in nearly a decade engulfed a huge swath of the region.

Such extreme weather has become rare since the government invested in projects to block wind and keep sand on the ground earlier in the early 2000s.

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