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Joel Fiddes

Research and monitoring in mountain regions

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During the period of May 7-13, 2021, Tajikistan experienced a series of floods, mudflows and mass movements, which led to deaths and damages to buildings and infrastructure. While the Government of Tajikistan has requested international assistance to respond to and recover from these disasters, they were not considered to be significant enough to declare a national emergency. They do, however, reflect the kind of local and recurrent events that are common and likely increasingly frequent in the country, undermining sustainable development.

The World Bank is currently implementing the Strengthening Critical Infrastructure against Natural Hazards Project (SCINHP) and is preparing the Tajikistan Resilient Landscape Restoration Project (TRELLIS), Tajikistan Resilient Irrigation Project (TRIP), and the Fifth Phase of the Central Asia Regional Links Program (CARs-5). In addition, the potential of a 2nd phase of SCINHP is being explored. All of these projects will seek, through varying approaches and with different sectoral investment targets, to increase the resilience of Tajikistan against hydrometeorological hazards such as those experienced in May 2021.

Within this framework, a forensic assessment of the May 7- 13 disaster has been undertaken by the University of Zurich (UZH), Switzerland and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF), Davos, Switzerland, that is presented in this report. The overarching objective of this study is to perform a primarily remote-based assessment of the processes that led to the May 2021 disaster; assess how extreme the processes that led to this disasters are in the current climatic context; and evaluate the possible impacts of future climatic changes for the frequency and magnitude of such events in the future.