December 23, 2022

Avalanche safety and rescue teams deployed in Gbao

The Challenge

Tajikistan, February 2019 – Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), a region highly vulnerable to natural hazards, has a long history of being negatively impacted by the effects of disasters. Avalanche is among many other hazards that causes catastrophic accidents often leading to fatal consequences and leaving large segment of the population without shelter and means of survival in this mountainous area.

In December 2018 and January 2019, heavy snowfalls created a significant havoc across Tajikistan. Avalanche Preparedness Teams (AVPT) along with SART and CERT deployed emergency response and evacuated more than 5,000 people living in avalanche prone areas. Precautionary measures of safety and avalanche preparedness taken by AVPT helped reduce the number of lives lost in the region. AVPT volunteers were dispatched to lead search and recovery efforts to locate missing persons in hazardous conditions.

The Innovation

Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) in Tajikistan established 143 AVPTs in the region who work with Tajikistan’s Committee of Emergency Situation and Civil Defense (CoES) and rescue teams (SART and CERT) to address challenges, provide safety, and build resilient communities.1

The Impact

AKAH, in collaboration with CoES, works to strengthen AVPTs capacity building through various indoor and outdoor trainings. This enables the community to be ready for any avalanche related emergencies and prevent the loss of lives.

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