Natural Hazard Risk
The Kyrgyz Republic is highly disaster-prone. Avalanches, droughts, earthquakes, floods, and land and mudslides largely comprise the 200 average annual disasters. In sum, they affect about 200,000 people and incur $30-35 million in damages and losses or, 1–1.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Over 300 earthquakes register annually and cause losses of $8 million; about 66 percent of the population live in housing highly vulnerable to strong earthquakes. Roughly 5,000 identified landslide sites, and landslides each year kill dozens of people, damage or destroy about 700 houses, and cause an average $2.6 million in losses. Heavy rains, snowmelt, and natural dam breaches bring seasonal flooding and mudslides. And, three to four extreme annual events affect most the republic’s territory.
Climate change is affecting the country’s 8,500 plus glaciers, with more intense flooding in the winter and reduced water flow in the summer. The sector most vulnerable to extreme weather, agriculture, generates about one-fourth of the country’s GDP and one-third of its employment.
Developing the legislative and regulatory infrastructure to manage disaster risk and implementing the mitigation and response measures are government priorities. The establishment of the Scientific Technical Council in 2009 reflects an important step toward proactive preparedness and disaster risk management.
While the council has strengthened cooperation between the Ministry of Emergency Situations, scientific institutions, and line ministries and agencies; the 2011 Unified Information Management System has improved early warning systems and increased the efficiency of crisis management centers. Further, the National Sustainable Development Strategy 2013–2017 builds on the existing DRM institutions and emphasizes disaster preparedness.
The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic is prioritizing the following to increase disaster resilience:
- Integrating DRM into sustainable urban development, including land-use planning, enforcing disaster resilient building codes, retrofitting critical infrastructure, and supporting disaster response and post-disaster reconstruction; and,
- Increasing the effectiveness of natural hazard monitoring, warning, and response systems.
Since 2008, GFDRR has supported activities in the Kyrgyz Republic to improve the efficiency of its weather forecasting systems and to better plan for extreme weather. Initial support provided an extensive review of the country’s natural hazard impacts on infrastructure. Following this review, in 2009, GFDRR developed an action plan to improve weather and climate service delivery in Central Asia, including the Kyrgyz Republic. GFDRR’s recommendations informed the World Bank’s $27 million investment program to modernize the country’s hydro-meteorological system.
Since 2011, GFDRR has supported an open source national disaster risk data sharing platform. GFDRR supports the platform through its Open Data for Resilience Initiative to enable data-driven decision-making and investments. Building on this work, in the same year, GFDRR helped to set up crisis management centers, to improve emergency warning systems, and to reduce response times. The resulting 20 percent cut in response times is expected to annually reduce casualties by 10–15 percent and economic losses by 3–5 percent.
In 2014, GFDRR supported the Kyrgyz Republic’s institutionalization of the post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA) methodology. As a result, key government agencies endorsed the methodology, and the Ministry of Emergency Situations provided training on its use to 280 government staff.
In 2016, GFDRR and the World Bank together developed quantitative country risk profiles for the Kyrgyz Republic and other Europe and Central Asian countries to equip government decision-makers with more information about how floods and earthquakes are likely to impact people and the economy.
GFDRR will continue to support the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to:
- Conduct probabilistic seismic hazard assessments for critical infrastructure;
- Improve the quality and delivery of disaster risk-related information; and,
- Invest in the seismic retrofitting of schools.