Tajikistan is vulnerable to various natural disasters such as earthquakes, flood, mudslides, avalanches, and each year it damage already inadequate housing and infrastructure and hinders income generation for the working poor. Usually the victims of this disaster are people living in the poorest rural areas – 70% of total population. The main causes of destruction in residential sector are cheap construction, poor earthquake-resistant infrastructure, lack of knowledge and financial resources to reinforce or even maintain the homes. There is no official building code/norms and regulations developed for earthquake resistant construction in rural areas.
HFHT initial Disaster response and preparedness project took place in response to Kumsangir (southwest of country) earthquake in 2006, where apart from human loss more than 2600 homes were totally and partly damaged, 21000 people affected.
The response of HFHT was not short term but multi phased and mobilized all existing resources and involved number of partners such as UN Disaster Risk Management program, UN WFP, International NGOs, the Institute of Seismology and Seismic-resistant Construction, the Scientific Research Institute of Construction/Architecture, the Ministry of Emergency Situation of RT, Kumsangir district government and local community initiative groups and families.
As a result within multi phased project 83families (around 900people) in most affected Kumsangir villages, have been supported to build new safe houses, 250 existing houses reinforced and renovated and more than 1000 individuals have gained basic skills and knowledge of earthquake safer construction practices. HFHT scaled up the project into other earthquake prone area of Tajikistan, Rasht district where currently 171 more families were supported to reinforce their decaying and vulnerable houses into decent and safe houses.
Still, the most important result and impact of the project was the development and application of appropriate, affordable and applicable house reinforcement technology and method using locally available materials without major construction expertise. 156 new safe homes built and more than 500 reinforced in most vulnerable areas. Within the last 4-5 years the project is supported by HFH Germany and its’ partners and supporters like ADH (Aktion Deutschland Hilft) and Kostal.
The technology has been adopted and included in official building code as a norm for rural house construction. It also has gained international recognition and won innovation competition and been presented in World Reconstruction Conference (Geneva, May 2010) initiated by WB, GFDRR and UNISDR.
Among other DRR&R projects it’s worth to mention the relocation of at risk 60 families to safe location in Norak, construction of 28 new houses in Khuroson, and supporting of 10 families in flood affected Kulob.
HFHT uses the rehabilitation and reconstruction activities following a disaster as windows of opportunity for the rebuilding of livelihoods and for the planning and reconstruction of physical and socio-economic structures, in a way that will build community resilience and reduce vulnerability to future disaster risks.