Humanitarian Response

UNICEF works to protect and assist children during emergencies providing life-saving supplies, psychological support and access to safe schools

Children near the UNICEF tent
UNICEF Kyrgyzstan

The challenge

The largest humanitarian crisis faced by Kyrgyzstan in recent years was the conflict in southern Kyrgyzstan in 2010: interethnic violence in Osh and Jalalabad regions resulted in the death of at least 470 people and displacement of 400,000 people.

Kyrgyzstan is prone to natural disasters of various kinds.

The Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Kyrgyz Republic (MoES) lists 20 main natural hazards and processes that pose risks to population. They include avalanches, droughts, floods, glacial lake outburst floods, earthquakes, landslides and frequent mudslides, epidemics, pests, crop diseases and river erosion. Some of these hazards are predominantly seasonal and occur on an annual basis, while others such as earthquakes are rare events, but potentially highly destructive.

Child friendly spaces
Affected children play in a child-friendly space established by UNICEF in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan is classified as one of the most seismically dangerous country in Central Asia, with a potential seismic intensity of 8-9 MMS scale across much of the country. The capital Bishkek and large cities of Osh and Jalalabad are located in areas of high seismic risk. 

Over 3,000 minor earthquakes are registered annually in the country. 

The most devastating earthquakes took place in 2008 and 1992, resulting loss of life.

The solution

Since its arrival in Kyrgyzstan, UNICEF has always worked in emergencies, both natural and man-made. Since 2009, UNICEF has been leading the corresponding sectors of Kyrgyzstan’s disaster response coordination mechanism.

A man in a blue UNICEF t-shirt pulls on the straps of a UNICEF-labelled cardboard box
UNICEF Kyrgyzstan/2010/Vlad Ushakov
A man pulls on the straps of a box with life-saving supplies

For instance, when Naryn, Batken and Osh provinces were most recently affected by floods and mudflows, UNICEF improved the hygiene conditions of affected families by providing hygiene kits and water purification tablets.

UNICEF’s response to the crisis following the interethnic conflict of 2010 began with the provision of urgent and lifesaving health and water and sanitation supplies. 

UNICEF opened child friendly centres in 45 affected communities. 

UNICEF provided psychosocial support to women and children and conducted a ‘Welcome to School’ campaign, which ensured access to a safe learning environment.

Баткен. с Кызыл-Бель, детский садик Бучур.
UNICEF Kyrgyzstan


These resources represent just a small selection of materials on response to emergencies produced by UNICEF and its partners in Kyrgyzstan. The list is regularly updated to include the latest information.

Core Commitments for Children