Kazakhstan: Floods DREF Operation No. MDRKZ002

Situation Report
Originally published


GLIDE no: FL-2008-000032-KAZ

The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

CHF 199,858 (USD 190,341 or EUR 124,911) has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the national society in delivering immediate assistance to some 370 families (about 1900 beneficiaries). Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

Summary: Heavy rains and the melting snow due to a sudden rise in the temperatures have caused floods in the South Kazakhstan oblast (region) on 20 February 2008. As of 25 February 24 localities have been flooded with 259 houses being destroyed and 2,345 flooded; 12,744 people have been displaced, 1 person died. The operation aims to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable groups of the population by distributing basic food and non-food items. This operation is expected to be implemented over three months and therefore will be completed by 5 June 2008; a Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by 30 September 2008).

The situation

In the second half of February 2008, on the territory of the South Kazakhstan oblast, which is the most densely populated oblast on the border with Uzbekistan, and along the Sir-Darya river, due to the sudden increase in air temperature, causing snow melting, and the heavy rains the level of water increased significantly, leading to floods in 24 settlements of the Sary-Agash, Ordabasyn and Aryss rayons (secondary subdivisions). According to the data at the end of February, in the oblast a total of 2,345 houses were inundated, 259 buildings were destroyed; 8 schools, 2 primary medical centers and 2 bridges were destroyed, large portions of roads were washed out, 1 person died and 12,744 people were displaced, which is practically the entire population of the area.

Such a disaster is the first one in the last 50 years in this region. The population was not prepared for the disastrous effect of huge masses of snow, melted due to the sun and rain, and thus flooding their houses and destroying their assets and cattle. The situation is worsening, as it continues to rain. There is a threat that several dams on the Sir-Darya river will be damaged, as the level of water in the Shardarya water reserve is getting high. This means that the situation could escalate and a larger number of people could be displaced.

According to the initial assessment carried out by the Kazakhstan Red Crescent staff in the first days of the emergency, the people who suffered from the floods lost most of their assets, cattle, poultry, and food reserves and many of them have their houses beyond repair. In many villages the agricultural land was covered by clay and sand and it will be impossible to kick-start usual agricultural works in spring. The population was evacuated and accommodated in the nearby sanatoriums or with relatives and friends.

In the disaster-affected area the sanitation and epidemiological situation is worsening, there are cases of respiratory and stomach diseases, there is a potential for outbreaks of infectious diseases and surge in the state of chronic illnesses.

As of the beginning of winter, the electricity supply was affected by bigger needs of heating. In this emergency situation the electricity supply has been additionally affected by the floods and the difficulties in fixing the damage.

The Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) and the local administration of the South Kazakhstan oblast are conducting emergency response to determine the scope of the disaster and perform rescue and evacuation activities. A team of 1,360 people was formed for rescue works, equipped with 194 units of motorized equipment, including 584 staff and 90 equipment units of fire departments, staff from emergency rescue units, from the Kokshetau Technical Institute, the Medical Centre for Emergencies of the MES, all equipped with boats and diving equipment.

During the rescue activities 12,744 people were evacuated from the affected area, the water was pumped out from 408 houses and 3 schools, 2 segments of roads were restored. The rescue teams are providing first aid to the people with injuries or illnesses and help the evacuation process. The evacuated people find refuge in schools and other public buildings, with their relatives.

The government is exploring the possibility of giving financial support to those affected by the floods.

How we work

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. The International Federation's activities are aligned with its Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

Kazakhstan Red Crescent Society: Vadim Kadyrbayev, Vice-President, Almaty, phone: 7727 291 81 51; fax: 7727 291 81 72; email: drvadimrc@mail.ru

Kazakhstan Red Crescent Society: Nurlan Panzabekov, Disaster Management Coordinator, Almaty, phone: 7727 291 81 72; fax: 7727 291 81 72; email: panzabekov@rambler.ru

In Central Asia Regional Representation: Drina Karahasanovic, Regional Representative, Almaty, phone: 7727 291 41 56; fax: 7727 291 42 67; email: drina.karahasanovic@ifrc.org

In Europe Zone Office: Slobodanka Curic, Disaster Management Coordinator, Budapest, phone: 361 248 33 05; fax: 361 248 33 22; email: slobodanka.curic@ifrc.org

In Geneva: Linda A. Stops, Operations Coordinator, phone: +41 22 730 4300, fax: +41 22 733 0395, email: linda.stops@ifrc.org

MAP - Kazakhstan: Floods (as of 4 Mar 2008) - Location Map