Mudflows in the south part of Tajikistan in March and April 2009

Dushanbe, 06.07.2009
Savri Ghulomalieva


The heavy rainfalls in March and April brought a lot of damages to the inhabitants of Tajikistan. Various parts of the country were affected, with the worst disruption in Panj district and Khuroson, both close to the Afghan border. Tajik authorities reported 20 deaths; half of them children. Furthermore, some 200 homes were completely destroyed with many more severely damaged by the rush of mud, water, and debris following the torrential rain. 

Weather-forecasters say that the quantity of rainfall of last spring was one-and-a-half times bigger than the usual monthly rate.

The natural disaster, mudflows has not only damaged the houses, farms, and displaced people; it has also destroyed roads, electricity lines, clinics, and educational institutions.

Khurshed, a citizen of Uyali village told Asia-Plus: “There was a hard rain and hail followed by a great rumbling sound.  When we went out of our houses, I saw a huge mudflow moving towards us. People were screaming and in rush of coming out of their houses. They tried to rescue their family members, so did I”.  In a very short time the village was covered with a thick layer of mud. Fortunately, Khurshed was able to rescue his wife with the help of his neighbors.

A lot of Khuroson and Panj people were displaced to another district. The number of displaced habitants is 1,900. They were provided with tent camps to set up houses.

After the Tajik government appealed for assistance, the United Nations reported on June 1 that 1.3 million US dollars was needed urgently to help 15,000 people, in particular to support with water and sanitation for 3,000 living people in camps.

The districts Khuroson, Pyanj, Qumsangir, Shahrinav, Rasht, Nurobod of Khatlon province and Districts under direct republic rule (DDR) are affected worst. The situation in Khuroson and Pyanj districts is particularly demanding, as humanitarian organizations strive to respond to the needs of 440 households displaced by the floods and mudflows that caused complete destruction of five villages. The displaced 3,000 people are sheltered in three tent camps provided by the government. Besides, the government of Tajikistan has provided the victims with transport and other needed things to relocate the people to safe places.   In addition to that, government has provided 24/7 medical teams for each of the camps and supported food rations the displaced families.

Khatlon government has allocated single payments of 500-1500 Tajik Somoni ($110-330) supplemented by 2,000-5,000 Tajik Somoni ($430-$1,100) payments through the state insurance company to each of the affected households depending upon the level of damage sustained.

However, many displaced families, particularly those in Pyanj have not received any of those payments yet. The total cost is estimated at 100 million dollars, around four times the damage caused by flooding and mudslides last year.

The victims of Khorosan have recently received humanitarian assistance of around 15, 000 Somoni from Tajiks living in the Ukraine. They helped with flour, oil, children’s wear and blankets. Moreover, they mentioned that they will give more humanitarian aid to the victims of Khoroson in the near future. 

The humanitarian assistance has started supporting the victims since June 1st and it will continue until November 31st 2009.  Concerted efforts will be made to mobilize funding for longer-term programs to address the large-scale rehabilitation needs emanating from this disaster.

The most recent estimates indicate that 12,000 people have been affected by the floods in 40 districts leading to displacement of some 3,000 people and death of 20 individuals. More than 2,000 residential and administrative buildings have been partially or fully damaged.

The Committee of Emergency Situations (CoEs) has been leading the response to the ongoing emergency supported by local governments (Hukumats) and international organizations in Tajikistan. The government has provided tents, transport and human resources to relocate people to safe area and set up three tent camps: two in Khuroson and one in Pyanj districts.

The Government of Tajikistan is compiling a list of those who are in need of assistance in many small and remote communities with fewer destroyed houses. For Khuroson district the government has committed funds to rebuild 110 houses and requested external assistance for partial and full reconstruction of 330 other houses. In addition, government has allocated 61.5 hectares of new land in safe locations for affected population. Each family is expected to be provided with 0.10 hectares of land for construction of new houses. The government plans to expedite the relocation of displaced population of all three tent camps in Khuroson and Pyanj districts as soon as possible.

Thanks for the Government of Tajikistan and other International Organizations that delivered the humanitarian assistance to the affected people immediately. And I hope that the Tajik authorities and International Organizations won’t leave the affected people in the tent camps before the cold winter arrives.

Flood in Tajikistan 2009