Imin talks with his relative at home in Darya Boyi Town in Yutian County, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, March 16, 2019. Before moving to the new settlement on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 this year, sheep herder Imin’s home was at the heart of the Taklimakan Desert, the second-largest shifting sand desert in the world. For hundreds of years, Imin’s ancestors have settled along the Keriya River, which flows from south to north into the heart of endless sand dunes, branching out like fingers and providing the source of water for human habitats. Though the Keriya River has provided for the survival of Imin’s ancestors, the environment has become less hospitable, with falling underground water level and frequent sand storms. A resettlement plan is underway to move the residents south to the edge of the desert, where better housing, drinking water facilities and roads are built. The Yutian County government, which administers the town, started to draft plans for resettlement in 2016. So far all of the 216 poverty-stricken households, including Imin’s family, have moved into the new settlement, about 110 km from the old town.