Disaster preparedness

Project description

Title: Disaster preparedness in the province of Badakhshan, Afghanistan
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Country: Afghanistan
Lead executing agency: Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA)
Overall term: 2014 to 2015 

Afghanistan. House destroyed by erosion in Ghuzak Darah, Badakhshan. © GIZ

Context
In Afghanistan, extreme natural events pose a threat to people’s livelihoods, particularly in the north of the country. Badakhshan Province is especially vulnerable to disasters, and each year many houses and large areas of arable land are affected by landslides, mudslides, avalanches and flooding. The situation is exacerbated by earthquakes, which the mud-walled houses often cannot withstand. People’s capacity for self-help is very limited, and external government aid often does not reach those who need it for days or weeks after a disaster, if at all. The government’s disaster management approach is largely restricted to repairing any damage that occurs, on an ad hoc basis. This includes the provision of emergency humanitarian aid and the rehabilitation of infrastructure. The province lacks the necessary resources, expertise and strong institutions to prepare for disasters. As a result, natural disasters continue to destroy livelihoods in Badakhshan on a regular basis.

Objective
Selected communities and districts have improved their capacity to react in the event of a disaster. The first steps have been taken to ensure the sustainability of these measures and to scale them up.

Approach
The project is working together with community development councils (CDC) and district disaster management committees (DDMC) to build up their capacities, while identifying and evaluating the risks related to natural disasters. The representatives of the CDCs and DDMCs will carry out joint emergency planning. In cooperation with the Afghan Red Crescent Society, the project is also training trainers and providing equipment for new community level emergency teams.

Efforts are being made at community, district and provincial levels to introduce basic early warning systems for river floods and rainfall-induced flash floods. The project is supporting the relevant authorities in this respect and is helping to establish a simple early warning mechanism for other frequently recurring disasters in the province. A crucial success factor for these endeavours will be their cultural appropriateness. The project is therefore conducting an initial assessment of existing traditional early warning systems in the region.

To boost preparedness in the province, the project supports the establishment of emergency stockpiles at community and district levels, and the inclusion of health centres in the emergency plans. It also provides training for teachers as multipliers versed in first aid and emergency drills for schools (in cooperation with the Basic Education Programme for Afghanistan, likewise implemented by GIZ), as well as awareness raising activities aimed at the broader population.

The experiences of disaster preparedness gained at the community and district levels will feed upward to the provincial authorities. This should convince the governor’s office in Badakhshan as well as the provincial office of the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) of the need for disaster preparedness. Awareness raising activities are also provided for government officials in various departments, and support is given to state agencies to develop project proposals related to disaster risk management.

To ensure the long-term sustainability of the measures financed through the project, it is important that they are integrated into the national system of crisis prevention. To this end, the project will encourage the full participation of ANDMA representatives and involve them in various steps in the process: completing risk analyses, drawing up emergency plans, holding emergency simulation exercises, and evaluating those exercises at district and community levels.

All the activities are implemented using GIZ’s community-based approach, which involves community members in awareness training and construction measures, and connects the communities to district centres, government departments and the provincial capital. There are around 60,000 potential beneficiaries living in the targeted districts. 

Afghanistan. Imminent landslide near Pishta Kalan in Badakhshan. © GIZ

Contact

Julio Sosa Calo
julio.sosa@giz.de