What are the needs?
Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – the five republics in Central Asia – are particularly exposed to natural disasters such as landslides, avalanches, floods, earthquakes, droughts and glacier melt.
Most of the natural disasters are related to the geographical characteristics of the region. However, small and medium scale disasters are increasingly the result also of climate change impacts. It is therefore vital to improve disaster risk reduction measures and to strengthen institutional capacity at local, national and regional levels to ensure the resilience of communities.
How are we helping?
The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has been active in Central Asia for over two decades. It started its humanitarian operations in response to the civil war in Tajikistan in 1992, and has continued its support over the years to address the impact of regular outbreaks of violence throughout the region - most recently assisting people affected during inter-ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 – and recurrent natural disasters, such as the food security crisis that hit Southern Tajikistan in 2012 as a result of a particularly harsh winter.
Since 2003, ECHO has increasingly expanded its activities in the region under its disaster preparedness programme, known worldwide as DIPECHO. Almost 100 projects have already been funded in the previous seven DIPECHO cycles, amounting to over €33 million.
For the previous DIPECHO cycle, which started in 2012 and ran until mid-2013, ECHO provided
€8 million for disaster risk reduction work both in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. Operations covered, among others: the preparation of emergency plans at community level; training for communities in disaster preparedness techniques; improvement of early warning systems and coordination mechanisms; building small mitigation works; advocacy for disaster risk reduction (DRR) among national authorities and development actors; greater integration of DRR into education.
DIPECHO’s present action plan for Central Asia and Southern Caucasus (2014-2015) encourages partners to adapt previously successful community-based disaster risk reduction models to existing needs and contexts, and facilitate coordination between development partners and government agencies to ensure disaster risk reduction measures are integrated in local, state and national development plans. It also supports the implementation of programmes related to school safety, hospital preparedness and mitigating urban disaster risks.