By Joe Lowry
Floods and mudslides are causing havoc in one of Central Asia’s most disaster-prone countries, and the local Red Crescent is at the forefront of the response.
Heavy rains at the weekend, and continuing thunder and hailstorms have caused at least one fatality and affected infrastructure in remote regions. Several villages have been inundated by mudslides, destroying houses and farmland.
The Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan – part of the national REACT emergency response network – was active within minutes of the alert being raised, and joined national assessment teams in the stricken areas.
The teams found that dozens of homes had been damaged by the storms and the mudslides that followed, making life extremely difficult for residents in a number of highly inaccessible areas.
“Floods usually occur in April and May, but this year they are continuing longer than usual”, noted Eric Michel-Sellier, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) representative in Tajikistan. “As 97 per cent of the country is mountainous, it’s very hard to reach the most affected populations, which underlines the importance of investing in community response.”
The IFRC, responding to a request from the Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan, is releasing CHF59,000 from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to help the most needy cases.
Over 800 people will benefit from distributions of tents, tarpaulins, mattresses, bed-linen sets, quilts, pillows, jerry cans, buckets, cooking sets, and hygiene kits. Another 21 family tents will be given to those who lost their homes.
Assessments in the needs of those affected are ongoing and more Red Crescent staff are joining the operation.
Floods in Azerbaijan
Meanwhile in central Azerbaijan, flooding of the Kura river affected around 250 people. Azeri Red Crescent is assisting the worst-off 150, providing them with blankets, mattresses, towels, hygiene sets, kitchen sets, bedding sets, jerry cans, gas stoves, rubber boots, and tents.