Children walking home in Barsem, Tajikistan. A nearby lake caused a mudflow in 2015, triggered by high …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

In high mountain areas of Badakhshan, Tajikistan, AKAH works with local communities to build irrigation …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

These villages near Khorog, Tajikistan, are prone to natural disasters caused by mudflows and flooding. In …

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

languageSwitcherThis page is also available in

Tajikistan | Disaster Preparedness and Response


AKDN has helped over 465,000 people mitigate the impact of natural disasters

In the fragile ecosystems of Tajikistan, where 40% of water systems are thought to be at risk and forest cover has declined to 3%, AKAH is integrating disaster risk reduction and natural resource management to help build climate resilience and reduce carbon emissions.


Preparedness and Response

In coordination with the Government of Tajikistan, we have responded to over 200 incidents and dozens of major natural disasters, providing emergency response and aid.

Emergency Management teams trained by AKAH aim to build resilience against disaster events. They build the capacity of community members in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM). This includes conducting hazard and vulnerability risk assessments (HVRA) and improves risk anticipation through the establishment of an Early Warning System (EWS). We have trained tens of thousands of volunteers for disaster response and management across Tajikistan. We intend to increase the number in the coming years, enabling hazard-prone areas to enhance their disaster resilience and coping capacity.

Key accomplishments include:

  • leading and facilitating the regional REACT (rapid emergency assistance coordination team) session and meetings in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO);

  • conducting capacity building training and establishing and equipping 134 Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), bringing together a total of over 4,020 members (nearly half women) throughout GBAO and Rasht Valley to support the communities during emergencies;

  • providing search and rescue training through Pompiers de L'Urgence Internationale, France and UK ISAR and the establishment of two Search and Rescue teams in Khorog;

  • establishing, preparing and training 173 Avalanche Preparedness and Response Teams (1,730 members) to respond to disasters in rural and urban areas;

  • increasing awareness of over a million schoolchildren and adults on seismic safety;

  • seismically retrofitting 19 schools and two houses in isolated villages;

  • pre-positioning of emergency stockpiles for 97,925 people in the most at-risk settlements throughout GBAO and Rasht Valley;

  • acting as a critical partner, together with the local government of GBAO, in responding to avalanches, mudflows and earthquakes;

  • providing critical search and rescue equipment for the Fire Department of GBAO and CoESCD;

  • institutional strengthening of the organisation in accordance with Incident Command System and Emergency Operation Centre’s response methodologies;

  • installing emergency communication systems across GBAO and in hazard-prone villages in Rasht Valley;

  • providing assistance to Afghan refugees in Tajikistan through family assessments, the provision of food, training in English and Russian, and computer courses through the University of Central Asia;

  • conducting simulation exercises at district, regional and national levels, jointly with the relevant government agencies of Tajikistan and the international community and UN Agencies such as UNHCR, WFP and UN OCHA;

  • providing humanitarian assistance such as food staples, medication, personal protective equipment (PPE) to communities and the Government of Tajikistan to combat and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the country;

  • enhancing nutritional resiliency during the COVID-19 crisis by providing food aid to internally displaced people and impacted communities;

  • evacuating families from avalanche- and mudflow-prone areas to safe locations; and

  • installing 15 weather monitoring posts to enhance prediction capacity, enhancing the emergency preparedness plan.

Following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in December 2015, AKAH, with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and United States Agency for International Development, procured and mobilised 26 yurts for affected villagers in the Bartang.


Recent Response Activities

AKAH's Emergency Management Department (EMD) teams are on alert 24 hours a day, ready to respond to disasters at a moment’s notice. Examples of recent disaster responses include:

  • Mudflow, August 2013: AKAH EMD received notice of a mudflow due to very heavy rain in the village of Shujand, GBAO. The EMD advised households under direct threat to evacuate their homes. Affected families were given food, tents, blankets and hygiene kits.

  • Avalanches and rock fall, February 2014: Rapid weather fluctuations resulted in avalanches and rock falls blocking the main Khorog-Dushanbe road. We used the CERTs and announcements at community gatherings to ensure that villagers had food and go-bags. Evacuation routes and safe havens were reviewed, and mobile phones and radio CODAN communication systems were checked.

  • Debris flow, July 2015: Increased glacial melting and heavy rains caused a debris flow, which blocked the Gunt River, resulting in the formation of an artificial lake. Houses, roads, land, schools and health facilities were damaged and destroyed. CERTs rescued and evacuated more than 100 families from the villages of Barsem, Barushan, Chudud, Rangkul, Vanj, Tekharv and Rokharv. The Tajik government and AKAH set up a temporary camp and provided food and other items.

  • Earthquake, December 2015: A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the Bartang Valley, which resulted in the damage of 652 houses and the destruction of 142 homes, impacting close to 3,500 people. More than 650 children, women and elderly were internally displaced. Acces was impeded by the cold and blocked roads.

CoESCD and AKAH had implemented an emergency radio system, now the only mode of reliable communication with the affected villages. With partners, we evacuated affected households, provided aid and procured and mobilised 26 yurts for affected villagers in the Bartang Valley. AKAH also supported the local government in the improvement of key social infrastructure such as schools and public facilities.

  • Avalanche, debris flow and rockfall emergency response 2021: Heavy rainfall and snowfall have caused 40 natural hazard events (avalanches, rockfalls and debris flows). EM staff, CERTs and AVPTs have been responding. Six Incident Command Posts in Shugnan, Ishkashim, Roshtkala, Rushan and two in Khorog were activated. Approximately 120 households were evacuated across GBAO and we housed eight vulnerable individuals in hotels. We provided 12 tons of fuel for road-clearing activities and supported households in Ishkashim in tents while locating alternate accommodation.

Working with other AKDN agencies, we integrate risk management strategies into long-term development efforts to further ensure sustainable improvement of the quality of life for the people of Tajikistan.

Reducing Local Hazard Risk through Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction

In collaboration with government institutions and with financial support from donors, AKAH implements community-based disaster risk management activities to help prepare communities residing in high-risk zones to be aware of and be able to respond to natural hazards effectively.

Our critical interventions at the community level include:

  • conducting Hazard and Vulnerability Risk Assessments (HVRAs) in over 828 communities in GBAO and Khatlon Oblast, the capital, Dushanbe, the city of Khujand in northern Tajikistan and Naryn town in Kyrgyz Republic, benefitting about 396,210 people;

  • disaster awareness and preparedness training, covering safe havens and escape routes in more than 600 villages;

  • conducting 27 bathymetric assessments of glacial lakes in GBAO;

  • implementation of over 452 small-scale structural risk mitigation activities, such as flood protection through riverbank reinforcement and construction of debris-flow channels; bridges; school seismic retrofitting; and terracing against avalanches;

  • in close cooperation with CoESCD, installing 263 two-way emergency radio communications devices to enable efficient emergency communication and response throughout GBAO;

  • installing early-warning systems and hazard monitoring tools for those threatened by remote hazards;

  • with the government of GBAO, partners from the Main Department of Geology, CoESCD and representatives of AKDN agencies, presenting and discussing the most at-risk villages across GBAO, and establishing a working group to carry out the next steps on disaster resilience for those communities, including working on the potential relocation of the most at-risk households residing in hazard-prone zones;

  • signing a five-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Main Department of Geology on systematising disaster assessment processes and outcomes, as well as partnering in the areas of disaster assessment methodologies and in the implementation of disaster risk reduction projects;

  • working with governmental counterparts on conceptualised remote hazard assessments and response using helicopter operations for airborne surveys, satellite imagery, innovative technology and modern equipment;

  • providing mapping software and computers for key partners, including the Main Department of Geology and CoESCD; and

  • with the local government of GBAO, CoESCD and the Hydrometeorology Department of GBAO, installing 25 Weather Monitoring Posts aimed at improving predictability, specifically the likelihood of avalanche occurrence; and installing eight automated weather stations at schools in GBAO.

External Partnerships

Our partnerships include:

  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

  • UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

  • World Food Programme (WFP)

  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

  • International Organisation for Migration (IOM)

  • Oxfam International

  • Mission East

  • Red Cross and Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan

  • Moscow State University

The main donor agencies supporting our activities include:

  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

  • European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department and its disaster preparedness programme (ECHO and DIPECHO)

  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

  • UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)

  • Japan Embassy


  • WFP

We enhance the capacity of government and non-government partners in assessing, monitoring, alerting and responding to natural hazards through:

  • conducting disaster awareness and preparedness training in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Education, the Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defence, the Departments of Geology, Hydrometeorology and Seismology and other partners;

  • capacity building of government partner institutions through apprenticeships, Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing Training and participation at summer universities and international conferences; and

  • establishing open centres/spatial data infrastructure for data sharing and analysis, which will provide a platform for data assessment and data analysis. The platform is accessible to the government, international organisations, donor agencies, NGOs and other researchers or practitioners in this field. The open centres allow stakeholders to share hazard risk catalogues and hazard assessments which have been conducted by organisations working on hazard mapping across Tajikistan; and serve as an information repository to store this data for future generations.