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, the Commission assisted people affected during inter-ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan in 2010.
Helping in the response to recurrent natural disasters is also a priority for the EU in the region. Examples of disasters include the earthquake in the Osh province of Kyrgyzstan in November 2015, and the food security crisis which hit Southern Tajikistan in 2012 as a result of a particularly harsh winter.
Since 2003, the Commission has increasingly expanded its activities in the region under its disaster preparedness programme, known worldwide as DIPECHO. In total, over 110 projects have been funded so far, amounting to over €44 million.
DIPECHO’s action plan for Central Asia and Southern Caucasus (2014-2015) encourages humanitarian partners to adapt previously successful community-based disaster risk reduction models to current 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.
Since 1994, the Commission has funded over 300 projects for a total of over €226 million in Central Asia, which includes both humanitarian assistance and disaster risk reduction work.