Year in review: small emergencies add up
Across the region, rural households most affected by natural disasters The year of 2012 was eventful as small- to medium-scale emergencies raged through the region incurring most damage on rural households. Earthquakes in Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, mudflows in Kyrgyzstan, flash floods in Kazakhstan and a hurricane in Georgia – all happened outside of large cities and in remote villages, at times difficult to access.
Often these small- to medium-scale disasters affected already vulnerable families. Many of the affected households were subjected to the same disasters more than once.
A cold winter, high precipitation levels in the spring and a dry summer have added to the hardship of the poor rural households. In Kyrgyzstan, massive livestock deaths of over 40,000 heads of cattle left many families without their main source of income and food. In Tajikistan, many families whose houses were made uninhabitable by the 13 May earthquake had to sell livestock to cover reconstruction costs.
Across the region, emergencies in 2012 underlined the importance of building the resilience of people living in disaster-prone areas. In most cases, the governments coped with the immediate disaster aftermath, covering urgent needs for shelter, food, water and other necessary items. But when it came to long-term recovery, support from humanitarian and development partners was often necessary to help affected people back onto their feet, learn from the disaster and better prepare for future shocks.