The Fergana Valley, in which Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan meet, stands out not only because of its complex borders. In the past, the valley has often been the setting of armed conflicts. The region is also an earthquake zone and precipitation in the mountains frequently result in mudslides or floods in the valley - a hazard which is increasing due to climate change. In order to enable the inhabitants to better protect both themselves and their livelihoods, the German Red Cross is supporting its local partner organisations in disaster preparedness.
Emergency plans and Local Disaster Management Committees mitigate consequences of disasters
In order to enable fast relief to often remote communities, the Red Cross Societies of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are supported by the GRC in training Local Disaster Management Committees (LDMCs) in the villages. In addition to First Aid the voluntary members of these teams learn for example the most effective ways of search and rescue of missing or trapped persons. The LDMCs work together with the villagers to develop emergency plans which specify how people should be evacuated in a disaster, where safe refuges are located and how quickly vital relief supplies can be procured. The emergency plans also take the consequences of climate change into consideration. These measures can help to mitigate or even prevent the worst consequences of a disaster. In addition, frequently occurring extreme weather phenomena (including early snow melt, long dry periods followed by sudden extreme rainfall etc.) are being included in the plans.
Simulation and First Aid: Disaster preparedness in schools
In a disaster, children are particularly vulnerable. In order to offer them better protection, the Red Cross / Red Crescent volunteers go to schools to teach on the subject of disaster preparedness. Within those sessions children learn how they should conduct themselves in an earthquake, for example to first of all seek protection under a stable door frame or under a table and only to run outside after the quake has quietened down. Another issue is that of extreme weather phenomena: Where are the safest places to go if a sudden snow melt occurs? The curriculum also includes First Aid basics. In order to ensure that everything works in an emergency, evacuation drills take place on a regular basis.
A strong community is more resilient against disasters
Only a strong community can cope well with emergencies. To make communities and the local Red Crescent Structures resilient, a stable source of income is vital. German Red Cross has built a a bakery in Kyrgyzstan. This provides a means of income for the Red Crescent Society of Kyrgyzstan, money which is then used to directly fund its social work. On the Tajikistan side of the Fergana valley, the GRC has built an evacuation bridge. The bridge does not only provide an emergency route in a disaster but children also have a safe and in part shorter way to schoolduring everyday life
Furthermore, the GRC is supporting community networking and mutual help by establishing a Red Crescent Primary Organisation. This in turn allows implementation of longer term, overarching projects.
Region: Fergana Valley (border zone Kyrgyzstan/Tajikistan)
Project volume: 860 000 Euro
Finance: Federal ministry for economic cooperation and development (BMZ) and donations (GRC)
Partners: Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan, Red Crescent society of Kyrgyzstan