European Union brings relief to victims of powerful earthquakes in Kyrgyzstan

News and Press Release
Originally published


Bishkek, 26th May 2017 – In response to two powerful earthquakes which struck Kyrgyzstan in early May, the European Commission is making available close to € 165 000 (moreover 12 million KGS) to provide emergency assistance to the most affected families. The aid will directly benefit 2 750 people in one of the heavily-hit districts of Chong Alay in the southern Osh region.

This EU funding supports the Red Crescent Society of Kyrgyzstan (RCSK) in delivering much-needed humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable populations, including the distribution of essential relief items, such as blankets, kitchen sets, and hygiene kits. In addition, cash grants are also being provided to enable impacted families to prioritise and address their immediate needs.

This funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

A strong 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck northern Tajikistan near the border with Kyrgyzstan at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres on 3 May, followed by another 5.8-magnitude tremor on 5 May in the same area. While there were no reports of casualties, the earthquakes left a trail of destruction in many villages in the border regions of Osh and Batken. In Osh region, more than 500 houses in the most affected villages of Kara-Myk, Jekendi, Kara-Teyit, Chuluk, and Shibee were destroyed and over 200 others sustained major damages, leaving as many as 5 000 people in need of assistance.

With the epicentres locating only some 190 kilometres away from the country’s second largest city of Osh, the tremors also caused severe structural damages to houses, health centres, schools and infrastructures. In addition, some 100 livestock, a main source of livelihoods for many families, are reported to have perished as a result of the events.


The European Union together with its Member States is the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. The European Commission through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) helps over 120 million victims of conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit ECHO's website.

The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.

The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The delegation agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.

For further information, please contact:
Pierre Prakash, Regional Information Officer for Asia and the Pacific, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO):