By Asker Sultanov
BISHKEK -- Move Green, an environmental group made up of Kyrgyz youth, is working to help the public better respond to natural disasters and other emergencies.
The series of training programmes and awareness projects is a collaboration with Kyrgyzstan's Emergency Situations Ministry and the US Embassy in Bishkek.
A record number of people were killed in natural disasters in Kyrgyzstan this year. Man-made and natural disasters during the first nine months of 2017 led to 113 deaths, according to the ministry.
Most of the incidents occurred in the country's southern areas -- 142 in Jalal-Abad Province and 89 in Osh Province -- caused by large amounts of rain and snow, ministry spokeswoman Elmira Sheripova told Caravanserai.
The 318 recorded emergencies included 104 snow avalanches and 67 landslides, she said.
Move Green, launched a year ago and financed by the US Embassy, seeks to improve disaster risk management systems and to enhance the ability of rural communities in Kyrgyzstan to plan for and react to natural disasters, said Move Green Director Maria Kolesnikova.
The group held training sessions this summer in the villages of Kara-Suu District, Osh Province, which are at increased risk of natural disasters, she said.
"[The participants] drew risk maps for their villages, designating dangerous and safe locations, and together with the Ministry of Emergency Situations they worked out action plans for when emergencies arise," Kolesnikova told Caravanserai.
Specialists trained 200 schoolchildren in grades 5-11 and more than 80 adult residents, including members of the rural district administration, deputies from the local kenesh (council), representatives from civic associations, village elders, members of the regional administration and medical personnel, she said.
The project organisers also held demonstrations on administering first aid and on carrying the wounded on stretchers, she said. Every volunteer on the rescue team received a guidebook on preparing for emergencies.
"We allocated the essential medical equipment ... in accordance with an assessment done on what the rural districts and local schools need for responding to an emergency," Kolesnikova said.
Мove Green also organised a series of modern communication technology training sessions and "train the trainer" sessions for Ministry of Emergency Situations personnel from Bishkek, Chui Province and Osh Province.
"Members of the Move Green environmental youth movement boosted the potential our trainers have," said Chinara Jumakadyrova, a specialist at the Emergency Situations Ministry's Training and Retraining of Civil Defence Specialists and Professional Development Centre.
"Move Green observed our activities and conducted an analysis, pinpointing the gaps and achievements," she told Caravanserai.
"Besides that, Move Green drew up print materials and posters for us on civil defence that we are handing out in schools and distributing to the public," she said.
"With help from Move Green, we created four animated videos on fire safety during the summer, when there is the threat that an avalanche might come down, [or of] earthquakes and mudflows," Sheripova said.
"In these videos, we talk about how people need to act, where they should call and they show in detail actions the public should take during emergencies," she said.
Move Green organisers also held the Jashyl Cup 2017 in Bishkek April 22-23, an annual two-day environmental debate tournament in which 84 students from different Kyrgyz universities and the State Law Academy participated.
Debate tournaments centred around environmental topics to help raise awareness among youth and to cultivate a proper attitude toward the environment, Kolesnikova said.
Move Green and representatives from the Emergency Situations Ministry also held preparatory briefings in Bishkek Public School No. 21 April 15.
"Workers at the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency Situations gave lectures on prevention of terrorist attacks, earthquake preparation and fire safety," she said.
"Employees and members of ... Move Green set up stations, and at each one the students had to imitate a response to certain situations -- avalanches, earthquakes, fires, injuries, etc.," said Kolesnikova.