Before 1998, pretty much no-one lived in the plains between Isalo National Park and Tulear. Since the discovery of Sapphire, several towns have appeared and the area has become the "Wild West" of Madagascar. People are attracted here seeking fortune, something that only a few will ever find. They work in the mines and only get paid with whatever they dig up, much like during the gold rush in Northern America. The biggest town of these, Ilakaka, has evolved from a gathering of wooden sheds to a town of over 20,000 people with shops, brothels, places to gamble and even some big mansions for the few that did find their fortune. Security has improved a little but it is still definitely not a town to linger in and even better to be avoided all together at night since the crime rate is very high.