In central Madagascar, what was once a dense forest on the side of a mountain is now dotted with mines where thousands of people risk their lives daily looking for precious stones.

The workers are lowered into tunnels that stretch up to 70 metres deep in the mountain.

Some struggle to breathe and the air needs to be pumped constantly.

Many have no alternative and appear defiant in the face of adversity.

“I’m not afraid at all. I’m used to this work, I make money out of it and I’m not afraid”, said one miner who opted to remain anonymous.

According to the U.N., climate change has caused such widespread drought and famine that people living in Madagascar are forced to cut down trees to sell coal and engage in activities like illegal mining.

Deforestation has also affected the country badly therefore increasing its vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

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