IOM Awarded for Helping Vulnerable Communities
The success of an IOM programme aimed at reducing the vulnerability of communities in Southern Kyrgyzstan to natural disasters has been recognized by the Minister of Emergencies, Janish Rustembekov, who has given the Organization an award.
The year-long programme carried out with 110,000 euros of funding from the European Comission’s Humanitarian Aid Department’s disaster preparedness programme (DIPECHO) was seen by both the government and the donor as having achieved much with relatively few resources.
Among the many results of the programme were the identification and mapping out of populated disaster prone areas in the south of the country; the creation of a network of 19 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in three regions; the training of nine NGOs on disaster preparedness training among vulnerable populations; the establishment of a training centre in Osh and a significant outreach to communities through information campaigns on minimizing the impact of a natural disaster.
Home to the longest mountain range in the world, Kyrgyzstan regularly experiences earthquakes, land and mudslides as well as floods. According to official sources, more than 350,000 people were directly affected by landslides, floods and mudflows in 2005, causing damage equivalent to almost one per cent of the country’s GDP.
Since independence, a lack of financial resources has been the main stumbling block for the government in finding effective disaster preparedness solutions while poor education and a fatalistic approach to natural disasters mean the Kyrgyz population are often not aware of the preventive measures that can be taken to avoid the risks linked to natural disasters.
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