Kazakhstan acts in anticipation of a cold wave
Winter is biting hard in Kazakhstan, with temperatures forecast to drop to -40 degrees Celsius. To help people cope with the extreme conditions, the Red Crescent Society of the Republic of Kazakhstan has activated its Simplified Early Action Protocol (EAP) for Cold Waves.
Through this activation, the Red Crescent Society will receive 67,978 Swiss francs (78,000 US dollars / 71,500 euros). Over the next three months, this will be used to fund anticipatory actions that will directly support 2,000 people in the worst-affected regions, and raise awareness among a further 80,000 about how to cope with the cold weather.
The actions will be targeted towards people who will be especially vulnerable during the cold period. Actions include:
- helping homeless people, including children, to reach warm-up shelters and providing them with hot meals
- distributing non-food items (e.g., winter clothes, winter shoes and warm blankets) to homeless people
- providing hot meals to older people living alone, single mothers with low incomes, and people with special needs
- providing hot meals to drivers and passengers who have to postpone their further travel due to the cold wave alert, and who are evacuated to warm-up shelters because of road closures
- providing heaters to older people who do not have central heating.
The Red Crescent Society of the Republic of Kazakhstan will also conduct awareness-raising activities about safety during the cold weather, including via social media. Its staff and volunteers will also provide First Aid at the warm-up shelters to those affected.
"This simplified early action protocol allows us to support people surviving extreme cold in the most difficult conditions, and to do it quickly," said Lena Kistaubayeva, director of the Emergency Situations Department at the Red Crescent Society of the Republic of Kazakhstan. "Distributing warm clothes from prepositioned stocks, and arranging hot meals for homeless people and older people living alone; these are the key activities now taking place in the North Kazakhstan Region. We keep monitoring weather forecasts, so as to respond in a timely manner and address further needs in this and other target regions of the country, through the Red Crescent branches."
This simplified early action protocol allows us to support people surviving extreme cold in the most difficult conditions, and to do it quickly.
Triggering the Simplified EAP
On 11 December 2023, the Red Crescent Society of the Republic of Kazakhstan received information from the Kazhydromet Services that the trigger threshold for activating the Simplified EAP for Cold Waves had been reached in the North Kazakhstan Region. The forecasts predicted temperatures to go below -40 degrees Celsius in the North Kazakhstan Region on the 11 and 13 December, potentially reaching -45 degrees Celsius on the 11 December. This meets the pre-agreed trigger set out in the EAP.
Essential items are distributed at the places where homeless people gather and live, while hot meals and food are handed out to elderly people. © Red Crescent Society of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Thanks to Lena Kistaubayeva, Mahabat Murzakanova and Melanie Ogle for their help with this article.
Top photo: The Northern Kazakhstan branch of the Red Crescent Society of the Republic of Kazakhstan takes part in the national command-post exercise 'Winter 2023'. © Red Crescent Society of the Republic of Kazakhstan
This article was updated on 8 February 2024 to confirm that temperatures were forecast to drop to -40 degrees Celsius, not -45 degrees.