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Kazakhstan: Drought DREF Operation n° MDRKZ010 - Final Report

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

In Kazakhstan, the heat wave that began in June 2021 in the Southern and Western regions of the country (Kyzylorda, Mangystau and Turkestan regions) led to record temperatures of 46.5°C (recorded on 7 July 2021), with a base average of 28.3°C.

As a result of the abnormally high air temperature in various regions of the country, rapid runoff of rivers and reservoirs occurred, and the soil dried up to a depth of 50 cm, which caused a lack of vegetation and natural feed on pastures. Due to the inability to graze livestock, the minimum reserves of feed and water were exhausted, which led to the mass death of animals. In the affected regions, the death of more than 2,000 cattle was recorded, and this figure was increasing every day. In addition, agricultural crops were also destroyed due to the heat, which could potentially lead to a serious food crisis in several regions of the country, where cattle are a key and essential livelihood activity due to the geographical and climatic features of the southern and western parts of Kazakhstan.

The drought greatly affected the food security of the regions, which led to cheaper livestock and higher prices for feed, food and drinking water, which are all critical to ensure the livelihoods of the population. Therefore, the negative consequences due to the sharp deterioration of the socio-economic situation, was the lack of adequate nutrition. Decimation of the soil and grass also led to an increased risk of fires. In 2021, more than 1,000 hectares of land caught fire on the territory of the Karaganda region due to drought, which, in turn, led to the death of one person and 200 heads of cattle.

The death of livestock and crops in three regions of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Mangystau, Kyzylorda and Turkestan regions) has had serious impact on the local population since animal husbandry is the only source of income and is a vital activity.

After coordination meetings on 12-13 July 2021, between the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan, the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation and the Akimat of the Kyzylorda region, it was decided that the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation, which has been a permanent partner of the National Society in responding to emergencies since 2017, would provide assistance in the form of providing fodder to the drought-affected population in the Aral district of the Kyzylorda region, directly in cooperation with the local administration. As part of the assistance of the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation, 800 low-income families of the Aral Sea region were to receive 900 tons of compound feed. This volume would be enough for the period from November 2021 to May 2022.

In the Aral Sea region of the Kyzylorda region, due to drought and acute shortage of feed, a state of emergency was imposed on 14 July 2021. The last time a state of emergency on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan was declared in the Kazakh SSR was in 1975. The decision to introduce an emergency regime in the Turkestan and Mangistau regions was considered by the Ministry of Emergency Situations and local executive bodies, but it was never introduced. In the last two regions, written requests for assistance were sent by the administration of these regions on 19 July 2021.

Of the total 71,000 affected people, 1,150 families (about, 5,750 people) were planned to be supported by the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan by providing funds, and the remaining affected population were to be supported through the government and private donors (including the Utemuratov Swamp Fund).

According to the initial assessment, the number of families falling under the assistance of the Red Crescent Society of Kazakhstan was to be 5,750 people. However, after the arrival of the NDRT team in the disaster zone, it was decided to increase the number of people who would be assisted to 5,790 people. In addition, the calculated indicator for providing monetary assistance was changed. In order to avoid conflicts and disagreements in communities, as well as the inability to withdraw potential balances from ATMs, a fixed amount of assistance of the amount of 170,000 tenge was established for each affected family.