Green projects for landslide risk reduction in villages of Suzak

Head of Tash-Bulak village Erkinkhodzha Sultanov shows planted wild almond on a landslide-prone slope. Behind him are more than 100 houses, a mosque and other social facilities and infrastructure under the threat of a landslide. Photo: Turar Bekbolotov / UNDP.

Residents of Kyr-Jol village Suranov Kochkorbai and Kuniyev Kasymaly tell that recently occurred landslide killed 6 people. If risk reduction activities had started 5-10 years ago, who knows, maybe it would not have happened.  

Villages of Tash-Bulak and Kyr-Jol, Suzak district, Jalal-Abad province, are located in a landslide-prone, the so-called red zone. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, about 250 families live near the disaster-prone areas. In both villages, besides houses of local people landslides may damage shops, a school and a mosque.

Highlights

  • Trees planted on 4 landslide prone sites covering an area of 6,5 hectares. As a result about 250 families protected against a risk of a landslide in Kyr-Jol and Tash-Bulak villages
  • In 2014 as part of the green projects local people planted trees covering an area of more than 100 hectares helping to protect about 1100 homes and over 10 social facilities in Jalal-Abad and Osh provinces

"We found a hope in 2012 and believed we could reduce risk of a landslide. UNDP offered to support the green project on planting wild almonds on 5 hectares of a dangerous slope in our village. Initially, we had involved 55 people from disadvantaged groups for the planting works, however to complete the planting in time I collected people and called for everyone caring about his village to come to work. On the agreed days, 200 people showed up. Jointly we finished works in 15 days. All the while locals were cooking at the foot of the slope for all workers, some were giving 1000 soms for products, and village elders had gathered here, so there was a festive atmosphere. As a result, our work has paid off - more than 90% of seeds have taken root", - says Erkinkhodzha Sultanov, head of Tash-Bulak village.

The green projects were launched in 2012 (Tash-Bulak) and 2015 (Kyr-Jol) by joint efforts of ayil okmotu, local residents, Kochkor-Ata forestry, UNDP project "Disaster Risk Management" and WFP programme "Food for Work".

In Tash-Bulak village, 100 kg of almond seeds, 500 seedlings of elm and 300 seedlings of walnut were procured for planting. In Kyr-Jol village on three dangerous sites 1500 seedlings of almond and maple were planted, 500 seedlings on each site of ​​0.5 hectares.

In addition, the UNDP project procured cement, barbed wire and angle bars for fencing the dangerous site in Tash-Bulak. Tash-Bulak ayil okmotu contributed additional funds for construction materials and organization of hot meals for workers. WFP provided over 8 tons of flour and oil to a working group of 55 people.

In Kyr-Jol village ayil okmotu made contribution of 24,100 soms, while the UNDP provided construction materials worth 245,065 soms for fencing. WFP allocated more than 4 tons of flour and oil as a compensation of labour.

"Green projects take care of local people and environment at the same time. In 2014 as part of the green projects local people planted trees covering an area of more than 100 hectares which helped to protect about 1100 homes and over 10 social facilities in Jalal-Abad and Osh provinces. It should be noted that we work closely with experts from forestry and try to consider and apply international practice", - says Taalai Ergeshov, Specialist of the UNDP project" Disaster Risk Management".

Forestry experts and the project selected the wild almond as a planting stock not by coincidence. Its roots go into the soil up to 15-20 meters in depth and sidewise and keep the soil in place well. In addition, the root system of a tree naturally pumps a water from the soil, and it evaporates through the leaves of an almond. This helps to regulate the amount of water in the soil of a dangerous slope.

"On the other hand we plant almond and other fruit bearing trees to ensure social and economic impact of the project, so that people can harvest and see benefit in them. When people see benefit in trees they try to save them", - adds Taalai Ergeshov.

The high risk of a landslide in Kyrgyzstan depends on three main factors. First, more than 90% of the country is occupied by mountains, so steep slopes are everywhere. Second, as livestock breeding is a basic economic activity in rural areas the free grazing and cattle drive, which affects the soil sustainability, is carried out elsewhere. Third, soil erosion accelerates because of many factors, including such factors as cutting down existing trees and shrubs and not planting trees on landslide prone slopes.

To protect seedlings local residents have fenced the planted areas. However, in the villages of Tash-Bulak and Kyr-Jol more than 25 and 15 hectares of landslide prone sites respectively remain on which further silvicultural measures shall be carried out to reduce risk of a landslide.

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