Disaster Risk Management in Tajikistan & Kyrgyzstan
The geography and topography of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan make them high-risk countries for natural disasters. This is especially true of the isolated mountainous communities of Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) in Tajikistan and Alai and Chon Alai in Kyrgyzstan, which are subject to frequent hazards such as Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), avalanches, landslides and earthquakes. In order to reduce the risk to these mountainous communities and increase response capacity, Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) with financial support from the European Commission’s Department for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) under its Disaster Preparedness Program (DIPECHO) VII grant award recently completed an 18-month disaster risk management project. The project entitled “Fostering Disaster Resilient Communities in Isolated Mountain Environments of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan” reached over 70,000 beneficiaries in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Activities in Kyrgyzstan were implemented in partnership with Aga Khan Foundation’s Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP).
Key achievements of the project include:
– Establishment of two Search and Rescue Teams and one Disaster Assessment and Response Team in GBAO to increase government and communities response capacity
– Implementation of a Regional School Safety Initiative in GBAO and Alai and Chon Alai in collaboration with the local Ministries of Education. This included setting up School Disaster Management Teams, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Committees, training of teachers in disaster risk management and development of DRR guidebooks for teachers and students
– Training of local masons in seismic safe construction and thermal insulation through a specially designed course at the University of Central Asia in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan
– Retrofitting of schools and homes by the trained masons to help raise awareness of seismic safe construction among local communities and other masons
– Production and broadcast of a documentary to change the local communities’ attitude towards disaster preparedness in Kyrgyzstan
– Hazard Vulnerability Risk Assessments of 19 high-risk communities in GBAO, Tajikistan and implementation of 13 mitigation projects to reduce risk to disaster and protect lives and assets
– Commemoration of International Day of Risk Reduction
– Microzonation studies of urban and rural areas in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to help in better future land use planning
The project results were presented at a regional level workshop with government authorities, including the Committee of Emergency Situation and Civil Defense in Tajikistan and Ministry of Emergency Situation in Kyrgyzstan, district heads and jamoat leaders. The government and communities expressed gratitude for the continued support in reducing risks and increasing the capacity to prepare for and respond to disasters.
FOCUS has been an implementing partner for DIPECHO for over 10 years in Tajikistan and has carried out community based disaster risk reduction activities in over 250 vulnerable communities in GBAO. Activities include conducting hazard vulnerability risk assessments, awareness-raising amongst adults and school children, implementing small-scale mitigation projects, training of community volunteers, establishing school response teams, as well as providing technical capacity building support to local disaster management institutions.