A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
On 3 May 2017, an earthquake of 5.9 magnitude occurred in northern and central-northern Tajikistan near the border with Kyrgyzstan (at a depth of 10 kms), with the epicenter being 120 kilometers away from the city of Batken and 192 kilometers from the city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan. Several aftershocks occurred on the same and the following days, with another strong earthquake of 5.8 magnitude registered in the same area on 5 May 2017 (at a depth of 10 kms). While there were, fortunately, no human fatalities in Kyrgyzstan, the earthquakes resulted in severe damages of infrastructure, including educational and health facilities and houses in the district of Chong Alay of Osh province as well as the district of Kadamjai in Batken province.
According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Kyrgyz Republic (MoES) and local administrations’ assessments, five villages of Chong Alay district – Kara-Myk, Jekendi, Kara-Teyit, Chuluk and Shibee – suffered major damages. As of 8 May 2017, about 1,000 families (including some 5,000 people) were reported to have been affected by the quakes in these villages, with 537 houses destroyed and 237 houses severely damaged (refer to Table 1 below for more details). Three local clinics, one school and a mosque were also damaged. In addition, some 100 livestock (of sheep) were reported to have been killed as a result of rockfalls in pastures following the earthquakes.
The MoES already distributed 550 summer tents to ensure that affected families whose houses had been destroyed had emergency shelter while governmental plans were underway to address longer-term needs. Twelve medical staff were also deployed to provide mobile emergency health services.
The Red Crescent Society of Kyrgyzstan deployed its National Disaster Response Team members from Osh Branch to the affected villages to support the ongoing rapid assessment of priority needs and gaps started by the MoES. The affected residents were found to be in immediate need of non-food items and construction materials for repairing their houses.
Kyrgyzstan is highly prone to natural disasters due to its mountainous terrain and the impacts of climate change affecting the region. The country experiences more than 200 small-to-medium level disasters annually. The majority of them and the most frequent ones are flash floods, floods, mudflows, and landslides, which have a seasonal nature and tend to result in significant economic losses. Earthquakes are one of the major threats to the country’s population and economy.
While the frequency of earthquakes is less than floods and mudflows, they pose the greatest risk and have a high impact. The average number of population affected by earthquakes annually is estimated at 200,000 people and the average amount of GDP loss annually is some 200 million US dollars, according to recent World Bank analyses.