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.
People live dangerously in this "oil village," inhabiting makeshift homes in abandoned factories bordered by filthy oil fields. Many who struggle to survive there are refugees of war – rural populations who lost everything and ran to the city to be safe and find work. Living in these inhuman conditions for two decades now, they breed livestock among the metal waste of factories and hang their laundry on oil-rigs. The air they breathe, the water they drink, the playgrounds for their children are contaminated and hostile. Yet life goes on in this dangerous urban concoction.
Rena Effendi is a freelance photojournalist based in Baku.
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