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The 60-year-old man survived the disaster that hit the former Soviet Republic of Tajikistan's mountainous eastern regions last month, but many others didn't – the mudslides and flooding claimed at least 12 lives and destroyed close to 100 homes.According to a study published last week by the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, the glacier stock in the Tien-Shan range is shrinking at four times the pace of the global average in recent decades.The study's authors claim half the Tien-Shan's glaciers – already diminished by over a quarter from their 1961 size – will melt away by 2050 .Oleg Chernogorski, a tour operator with three decades of experience working in the region's mountains, calls climate change "an undeniable fact" after seeing the season begin later and later over the past three decades.This year a Kyrgyz border guard was killed in a densely populated valley riven by tensions over river water usage between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.The two mountainous, agrarian countries have pledged to complete large dams that could reduce water access to their downstream commodity-rich neighbors Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
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