Kazakhstan: Floods - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRKZ009

Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On 1 May 2020, pouring rains and strong wind caused a dam burst of Sardoba reservoir in Uzbekistan that resulted in a critical increase in the level of water in water collectors and flooding in Makhtaaral district of Turkestan region of the Republic of Kazakhstan on 2 May. States of emergency were declared in both Makhtaaral district and Turkestan region that borders Uzbekistan on 2 May.

By 5 May the flood affected 5 villages with 1,030 houses being flooded: 310 in Zhenis village, 71 in Zhanaturmys village, 244 in Orgebas village, 384 in Ferdausi village and 21 in Dostyk village. According to the assessment reports by 11 May, the total area of flooded agricultural crop and pasture fields makes 7,316 hectares, more than 700 household animals died; and according to government assessment, the damage affects around 1,000 agriculture producers.

A bridge in Zhenis village has also been destroyed and four roads have been damaged (one district level road to Zhanaturmys village, two regional level roads - between Zhenis and Ferdausi and an entrance to Orgebas village, and one national level road). Consequently, access to the flooded villages is currently still limited.

People from 5 flood-affected villages and other 12 villages situated in the flood risk area were evacuated in the first days following the water rise. The total number of people evacuated from 17 settlements was about 33,000. As of 5 May, about 22,000 people have returned to their houses as the risk of flood decreased. However, the risk of flood was affecting another 4 settlements with a total number of 532 houses (3,445 people) until 5 May. The threat of flood in 16 villages passed by now and people from the evacuated villages that were not affected returned to their houses.

The government and communities have not considered flood as a disaster risk in the region; the disaster happened unexpectedly, and people were unprepared. People were informed about the evacuation and the evacuation happened quickly. For temporary accommodation, the authorities spontaneously organized 24 evacuation points in the two nearest villages: Atakent and Zhambyl. According to the preliminary report there were 2,411 people in evacuation points as of 5 May. The latest report on 11 May shows that there are 10 evacuation points with total number of 3,199 people. The ten evacuation points are located in the following villages: Atakent – 3, Orkenient – 1, Yessentay – 1, Igilik – 1, Qyryqzhyldyq – 2, Kokaral – 1, Zhetisay –1.

Health services in the evacuation points are provided by professional medical staff (doctors and paramedics). Some people from the flood-affected area left to stay with their relatives who live in the same or close districts and some left for Shymkent and Turkestan cities. These people have not been properly tracked or registered. The number of people still staying in the evacuation points is 3,199 (as of 11 May); the remaining people whose houses are damaged by the flood (about 3,000) are staying with relatives. People in the evacuation points experienced lack of hygiene items, bed sheets, blankets, shoes and clothes. Food items and clean water is also limited. There is no hot water supply and the number of latrines is insufficient. Electricity, mobile and internet connections in the flood-affected area are provided with interruptions.

There is no damage assessment information available yet as of 11 May. However, some houses in the flood area are reported seriously damaged because of the high level of floodwaters. Household items, home appliances, clothes, food stocks have been destroyed. Those people who managed to move their cattle (cows, camels, sheep, chickens) to safe places will need to repair or rebuild cowsheds, barns and restock cattle feed. Some people have lost their cattle and will face food insecurity while the government conducts the damage assessment and together with NGOs (including Red Crescent Society), business structures and community organizations provides assistance in restoring a normal life.

The Department of Emergency Situations, police, the National Guard, local akimats (administrations) and local communities are involved in evacuation of the population, provision of shelters (evacuation points), food and necessary basic items. Local non-governmental organizations and volunteer initiatives assist the government/ authorities and provide in-kind assistance to help the disaster affected people.

There are cases of COVID-19 still registered in the country. As of 7 May 2020, there are 4,530 COVID-19 registered cases. Out of this, in Turkestan oblast there are 165 active cases, 147 people are recovered, and 30 dead. Combined, both disasters increase vulnerability and reduce the ability of the population to engage in social distancing and to practice basic hygiene. The COVID-19 related state of emergency was ended on 11 May but quarantine restrictions are still present and affect many activities, including movement between locations or interruptions in the work of markets and other places selling household items. In such a situation, the assistance should be provided with purchased items, a voucher system might not work well.