||The grant impact is lowered risk of household losses due to flood damage and other disasters for poor households in flood-prone areas. The objective is to develop capacity to anticipate, protect against, prepare for, and cope with floods and other disasters in 130 flood-prone villages in Farkhor, Hamadoni, Vose, Pyandzh, and Shuroabad districts of Khatlon province. The objective will be met in two ways: (i) supporting households to adapt a holistic system to systematically understand and assess hazards and risks of flood and other disasters, mitigate them, monitor risks, address floods and other disasters when they occur, and be prepared for recovery; and (ii) providing silvicultural flood protection via selective restoration of natural ecosystems to strengthen riverbank and household areas against floods, and provide additional income to households based on these resources.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), published in 2007, is the Government's coordinated framework for addressing poverty in Tajikistan, and for improving access to and raising the quality of services for the poor. Supporting communities to plan for and address floods and other disasters in the project areas will significantly reduce risks of loss, particularly for women and for poorer households. This provides protection for poor rural households who have no cushion to absorb risk, and improves public participation and partnerships with the government.
The project area incorporates the districts of Hamadoni, Vose, Pyandzh, Shuroabad, and Farkhor in the fertile flood plains adjacent to the Pyanj, Kizilsu and Yakhsu Rivers in Khatlon Province. Rural households in this area depend on cotton, livestock, and household plots for both subsistence and livelihood. According to poverty mapping data from the associated loan, the level of poverty in the project area is 79%, over 14% above the national average. Households headed by women are a particular challenge, as over 40% of men have left the area to find work in the Russian Federation. In late 2005, the average nominal monthly salary in the project districts was 52 somoni (about $15), lower than the average national level by 37%. In difficult crop years (such as 2008) poor households suffer badly.
In recent years the project districts have become increasingly vulnerable to floods because of insufficient embankment maintenance, as well as insufficient disaster preparedness in communities. When there are floods, poor households are deeply affected, losing homes, assets, livestock, essential papers, and even lives. In addition, agricultural crops are spoiled, and often agricultural land loses productivity and can even be lost. Health and social services are negatively affected. Recovery is slow, and dependence on relatives for support erodes the narrow cushions of other families. A major flood in 2005 in Hamadoni District caused losses worth an estimated $17.8 million.
The project emerged from recognition by rural households in the project area that they will continue to face regular and increasing risks of floods and other disasters, and must address these issues on a community basis to reduce potential losses. Rural households are 75.2% of the total population of 584,000 in the project area. They depend on cotton, livestock, and household vegetable plots for subsistence and livelihoods. According to preliminary poverty mapping data, the level of poverty in the project districts is 79%, 14% above the national average. A social survey was conducted as part of project preparation for the associated loan for the Khatlon Province Flood Risk Management Project, using focus groups, interviews, and questionnaires. The results show the high socioeconomic impact of flooding on poor households.
What is needed is a comprehensive package of substantive village-level awareness and mitigation of disaster risk and hazards measures, blended with effective monitoring and preparedness to address floods and other disasters, and coping mechanisms when disasters strike. Better understanding and systemic arrangements between villages, NGOs and local governments, the CES, and Ministry of Water Resources and Land Reclamation are also needed.