Community Emergency Response volunteers clear a road blocked by an avalanche in Badakhshan, Afghanistan. …

AKAH Afghanistan

Community members are trained in gabion weaving using wire and local stone to build low-carbon protective …


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AKAH technical experts and community members tracking glacial melt at Shishper Glacier in Hunza, Pakistan. AKAH Pakistan is currently monitoring 25 glaciers and 20 lakes across Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral.


Community and Institutional Preparedness and Response

Through community-based disaster management, we aim to strengthen the local capabilities of populations to be better prepared and more resilient against the natural hazards they face.

We maintain a network of nearly 40,000 local volunteers whom we train regularly in community emergency response, search and rescue, and disaster assessment and response. This includes nine Search and Rescue Teams trained to International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) standards. We also provide these volunteers with the tools and training to operate as first-responders during emergencies, capitalising on their local knowledge of the terrain, language and culture.

Quickly and effectively mobilising and distributing relief supplies and installing temporary shelters in the immediate aftermath of a disaster is critical to saving lives and supporting recovery. We have pre-positioned stockpiles, managed by community volunteers, to provide more than 2,200 villages quick access to emergency relief supplies without having to wait for external aid to arrive in remote areas. For those whose homes are damaged or lost, we provide emergency winterised tents and transitional shelters as well as support for more permanent housing.

Nearly 40 percent of our local emergency response volunteers are women. These women are challenging gender biases and changing mindsets as they lead emergency response teams or conduct search and rescue missions. They also ensure that lifesaving information and rescue services can reach women in societies where conservative social norms limit contact with men.

Community Emergency Response volunteers practice their rope skills in northern Pakistan. AKAH trains local volunteers to be able to prepare for and respond to disasters in their communities.


Seasonal events such as spring flash flooding or winter avalanches in northern Afghanistan, Tajikistan or northern Pakistan or summer cyclones in coastal areas of India or Pakistan affect hundreds of communities by cutting off vital transport and communication links and hinder access to emergency support.

We operate comprehensive Winter and Summer Preparedness Programmes to ensure communities are aware and prepared to face different seasonal hazards including avalanches, landslides, floods, heatwaves and cyclones. These programmes aim to reduce fatalities through community education programmes and strengthening institutional preparedness, coordination, orientation and Incident Command System/Emergency Operation Centre (ICS/EOC) training sessions for local stakeholders and AKDN staff. The programmes cover:

  • pre-disaster training sessions;

  • stockpiling;

  • early warning systems and alerts;

  • effective weather monitoring posts;

  • fail-safe communication;

  • exit routes; and

  • pre-emptive evacuation plans and procedures.

In Gilgit-Baltistan, a volunteer caretaker checks the Flood Early Warning System installed by AKAH.


Weather Monitoring and Early Warning Systems

Being able to effectively monitor weather patterns and issue early warning is critical to effective disaster preparedness. We have set up 88 weather monitoring posts (WMP) across Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan. A team of 145 trained community volunteers operate these systems and our technical experts continue to provide regular monitoring, maintenance and technical support.

The WMPs collect data on air temperature, wind direction and speed, amount of rainfall and snowfall and snow depth. The WMP volunteers also look for signs or evidence of any avalanches that occurred, tracking information on location, size and impact. The data collected is analysed by our technical experts to forecast disaster risk and issue weekly advisories and early warnings.

AKAH Tajikistan staff and community members installing an emergency communications system in GBAO, Tajikistan to provide access to fail-safe communications in remote, hazard-prone villages.


Risk Mitigation and Eco-DRR

Data from the HVRAs on high-risk and safe zones is used to reinforce, protect and relocate critical infrastructure. To safeguard housing and other social and economic assets from natural hazards, we implement structural mitigation measures such as:

  • building flood retaining walls;

  • reinforcing foot and vehicle bridges;

  • stabilising slopes;

  • constructing avalanche protection; or

  • excavating channels to redirect debris fan.

We have completed over 240 structural mitigation projects, helping to reduce the risk and protect the lives and homes of more than 50,000 people.