What are the needs?
Tajikistan is prone to various and frequent natural disasters such as floods, landslides, cold waves and earthquakes. In recent years, the raising temperatures due to climate change are exacerbating the impact of climate-related disasters. Floods occur regularly which can be quite disastrous to some communities at the local level. The most recent major flooding occurred in May 2016 in nine districts of the country, killing five persons and affecting 1598 households. The European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) provided support to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in order to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs.
Poverty and underdevelopment also increases the vulnerability of the population. The frequency of electricity shortages, for example, not only affects the livelihoods of communities but also constitutes a direct threat to human lives as many households rely on electricity for heating.
Tajikistan is also vulnerable to Glacial Lake OutBurst Floods (GLOF) – a phenomenon by which mountain lakes located on high altitude glaciers break their embankment, with devastating effects in the communities along the valleys below.
The mountainous country also lies in a highly seismic region. Earthquakes are a common feature; the latest large one took place in December 2015 in Murghab in Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), causing extensive damage to local communities, and prompted international response, including from ECHO.
How are we helping?
Since 1992, ECHO has delivered approximately €182 million in humanitarian aid to Tajikistan, including assistance to the victims of the civil war in the 1990s, the rehabilitation of health facilities and drinking water supplies in different parts of the country, the delivery of emergency food assistance after natural disasters and efforts to strengthen disaster preparedness, prevention and response capacities of Tajik communities and state authorities.
Since 2003, ECHO’s focus has been on disaster risk reduction under the DIPECHO Disaster Preparedness programme, working with the government’s Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense, as well as partners from the NGO community, United Nations family, and the Red Cross and Crescent Societies.
DIPECHO-funded projects increase the resilience and reduce the vulnerability of local communities and institutions by supporting strategies which enable them to better prepare for, mitigate and respond to natural disasters. Through the current DIPECHO cycle (2016- 2017), ECHO is funding 10 projects implemented by non-governmental, international organizations and UN agencies. The projects focus on consolidation and institutionalization of past achievements in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), aiming at building up the resilience of hazard-exposed communities and strengthening the DRR capacities of governments in Central Asia. Given its high vulnerability and high exposure to natural disasters, Tajikistan is a priority country for the DIPECHO program. The total funding for the ongoing DIPECHO cycle is €5, 8 million (jointly with funding for Southern Caucasus), of which about €2 million are used in Tajikistan, making it the largest recipient of ECHO funds in the region.
The EU Civil protection mechanism was activated in 2009 to respond to the floods in Khatlon province. An assessment and coordination team was deployed on site, while assistance in form of tents, hygiene kits and medicines was swiftly provided to the affected population.