With its vast mountain ranges, grasslands, steppes, deserts and large river systems, Central Asia is particularly exposed to natural disasters. Floods, landslides, mudflows, avalanches, droughts and earthquakes are all recurrent in all countries of the region, with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan considered as the most vulnerable due to the presence of the Pamir and Tien Shan mountain ranges.
In this context, ensuring that local communities are well prepared to face these climatic events is essential. Since 2003, the European Commission has invested some €44 million in over 100 disaster risk reduction initiatives across the region. In Kyrgyzstan the German Red Cross is implementing a project which aims to “build disaster resilient communities and institutions.” This involves the creation of local volunteer committees who, working with the local authorities, receive training and regularly organise simulation drills, in order to ensure the community is ready in case of an emergency.
Story and photos by Pierre Prakash