Original Research

Field note from Tajikistan Compound disaster - A new humanitarian challenge?

Charles Kelly
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 2, No 3 | a32 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v2i3.32 | © 2009 Charles Kelly | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 April 2009 | Published: 25 April 2009

About the author(s)

Charles Kelly, A$liate, AON Ben&eld Hazard Research Centre, University College London

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Abstract

During the winter of 2007-2008 the Central Asian country of Tajikistan experienced an unusually cold winter which led to shortages of electricity, water and heating as well as food losses and these impacts occurred at the same time as a combined with a drought, and dramatically increased food prices and increased food insecurity. These impacts were exacerbated by a lack of investment in the water, power and fuel supplies, health care and education systems since independence in 1991. This combination of events was termed a compound disaster. The note explores the conditions in Tajikistan which created the compound disaster, the humanitarian response and how this disaster became a neglected event. The concept of compound disaster has gained limited acceptance in Central Asia but may also be applicable elsewhere. The difficulty of identifying and responding to a compound disaster creates a particular challenge for humanitarian organisations if they are to be effective in reducing human su%ering due to disasters.

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