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

AKAH Afghanistan

As part of its disaster preparedness and response activities, AKAH maintains community-managed emergency …

AKAH / Andrew Tkach

Mitigation project in Lalakia Larkhabi village of Khan Abad district of Kunduz.


Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers conduct a mock drill in Bamyan, Afghanistan. AKAH has …


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Afghanistan | Disaster Preparedness and Response


Over 143,000 people have received aid

Community Emergency Response Team volunteers and Search and Rescue Team members conduct a joint training exercise in Shughnan District of Badakhshan, Afghanistan. CERT teams are trained to be local first responders while SART teams provide advanced search and rescue services in the event of a disaster.


Preparedness and Response

In coordination with the former Government of Afghanistan, and other international organisations, AKAH has responded to hundreds of incidents and natural disasters. Disaster preparedness is a key component of our work, and we work on community-based preparedness projects to improve the capacity and coping mechanisms of communities to respond to natural disasters.

Through the years, we have further strengthened our response capacity by establishing, training and equipping disaster response teams, working with focal points in villages and schools in the region. Working in nearly 800 communities over the last 10 years, we have responded to 721 incidents and assisted 11,600 individuals. AKAH’s major accomplishments in disaster response and preparedness include:

Hazard Vulnerability and Risk Assessments

We use Hazard, Vulnerability and Risk Assessments (HVRAs) to conduct risk assessments at community level. These enable us to collect specific data to better design risk reduction measures and work with communities to develop disaster management plans. We have conducted nearly 800 HVRAs, including two habitat assessments. We have used these to develop nearly 700 village disaster management plans and two habitat plans. We have implemented tailored mitigation measures such as protective walls, tree planting to prevent landslides and retrofitting buildings for greater resilience.

We have also designed a Geographic Information System (GIS) training for the Environment Faculty of Kabul University. The aim is to improve the capacity of the Faculty’s students on managing natural resources, disaster risk reduction and mapping multiple hazard risks, including determining exposure and climatic change.

We have also conducted Incident Command Systems (ICS 100, 200 and Emergency Operation Centre) at the institutional level and trained participants including disaster management authorities of the former Government, AKDN representatives and AKAH staff.

Avalanche Preparedness

We have provided training on avalanche safety in 205 villages, trained 2,002 people, including 506 women, and equipped teams with Avalanche Preparedness Team (AVPT) toolkits. We have also set up 15 weather monitoring posts, and trained 72 people on collecting weather monitoring data. We collect and analyse this data to make predictions about the likelihood of avalanches occurring. Based on this avalanche warning, messages were sent to 263 villages in 2021.

Emergency Stockpiles

We manage 86 emergency stockpiles, across five provinces of Afghanistan. These stockpiles can provide for 16,415 families in the most at-risk areas.

Food for Work/Food for Assets

We run this programme in partnership with the World Food Program. In 2020, we distributed over 1,640 metric tons of food to 11,215 families in Badakhshan and Bamyan.

In 2021 we distributed winterisation packages, under the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund project, to 500 families in six districts of Badakhshan.

Weather Monitoring, Early Warning and Emergency Communications

We run a 24-hour operation centre, which collects information from 197 villages each day and compiles a daily situation report, monitoring the occurrences of natural disasters, security incidents and local weather conditions. Many of the at-risk villages we serve are extremely remote and have limited or no means of communications. We have provided 197 such villages with emergency communication systems to be able to report disaster incidents and receive warnings. In 2021, we and the Roshan Telecommunication company installed VSAT systems in 58 villages in Badakhshan, Baghlan and Takhar provinces which had no means of communication.

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs)

We conducted capacity building training and established and equipped 743 CERTs. This brought together over 18,415 members (of which over 38 percent were women), in the provinces of Samangan, Takhar, Badakhshan and Baghlan, Bamyan, Parwan and Kunduz.

I thank AKAH for conducting the ‘First Aid and Search and Rescue’ training in our village. We learned new skills and techniques in order to effectively rescue victims and swiftly address their injuries. In the past, if someone had burns, we applied sliced tomatoes and onions on the wound, as well as shoe cream and toothpaste. Through CERT training, we have learned how to correctly treat burns and injuries in a hygienic and appropriate manner.

Choqorak Village

Search and Rescue Team

We have trained three Search and Rescue Teams in Badakhshan and Baghlan, comprising 42 people (18 female).

School Safety Programming

We have carried out school safety programming in nearly 200 schools. The programme, which aims to build the capacity of students and school officials to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters, has trained over 30,000 students, teachers and school officials.

Impact of the landslide that hit Abi Barik village in Argo district, Badakhshan, Afghanistan.


Recent Response Activities

AKAH is a key response agency in the northern provinces of Afghanistan and has strong technical expertise in disaster assessment. We send technical teams to conduct assessments after disasters, and share these assessments with the authorities and other stakeholders. We can respond effectively to small-scale disasters through our community-level emergency response teams.

We leverage our logistical capacity and institutional reach through AKDN to distribute food and non-food items to affected communities, particularly in remote and inaccessible areas, on behalf of partner organisations. Examples of recent disaster responses include:

  • assisting affected families during the 2021 avalanche season;

  • providing assistance, food and other materials to families affected by flooding in Badakhshan during 2020 and 2021; and

  • responding to 33 flash floods in 2020 and 2021, providing food and non-food aid to 225 affected families.