Tajikistan: how a small group of volunteers saved their community from an impending disaster

For over a decade, the European Union has been funding disaster risk reduction initiatives across Central Asia, one of the most disaster prone regions of the planet, vulnerable in particular to earthquakes, floods, yearly landslides and mudflows, and droughts.

Volunteers of the community emergency response team from Barsem stand on the rubble remaining from the massive mudflow which came crashing from the gorge above. © EU/ECHO/Pierre Prakash

“It was during the rainy season, when we know that there is a higher risk of mudslides, so we were monitoring the situation closely”, he recalls.

“On the afternoon of July 16th, we decided to start evacuating the families who were living closest to the stream, starting with the women, children, and elderly people,” he explains. “Other volunteers came from surrounding villages and together we helped these families gather their belongings and reach the safe havens we had identified for such a scenario when we had done the hazard mapping of the village under the FOCUS project.”

The mudflow was so large it altered the course of the river below. © EU/ECHO/Pierre Prakash

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Stories from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department of the European Commission

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