Helping Communities Displaced by the Sardoba Reservoir Flood in Uzbekistan

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Helping Communities Displaced by the Sardoba Reservoir Flood in Uzbekistan

On May 1, 2020, Uzbekistan’s Sardoba Reservoir Dam burst, causing the Sirdaryo River to flood downstream communities and villages. Widespread flooding damaged and destroyed homes, and disrupted the livelihoods of 60,450 people in 22 communities within the Sardoba, Akaltyn, and Mirzaabad districts. Six lives were lost in an instant.

In rapid response to this disaster, USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA) provided $100,000 to the U.S. NGO Resource and Policy Exchange (RPX) to help flood-affected households. Through RPX’s local partner organization, Sog’lom Avlod Uchun, USAID provided essential supplies including food, blankets, hygiene items, and water chlorination tablets to 2,000 flood evacuees. 

While the floods will have a lasting impact on affected communities, USAID was there to help meet the immediate needs of displaced families in Uzbekistan. 

Gulchekhra was one of the 2,000 evacuees assisted by USAID. “We woke up around 5 a.m. and heard that a dam had burst at the reservoir. We panicked, packed a few clothes and tried to get out of the house. I can’t remember how we got out that day. Sadly, after this incident, my spouse became ill, and after a while, he passed away. I have four children and three grandchildren. We had recently built a new house. Our son had just got married. The water took everything away, our shelter, our things, dreams... We were happy that we survived. Now we live with my brother. We were in despair and grateful that my brother’s family took us in. We received food and hygiene products, and other necessary items delivered by the American people and Sog’lom Avlod Uchun Charitable Foundation. On behalf of my family and me, I express my boundless gratitude to the American people and the Sog’lom Avlod Uchun Charitable Foundation,” says a grateful Gulchekhra. 

A loud noise woke Khadicha in the early morning at about 4:00 a.m. “I ran out into the street and saw a flood. The government announced a quick evacuation of residents from the area. At first, I was terrified, because the water level was high, but then I gathered myself and woke my spouse, children, and grandchildren. We had to run in what we were wearing. I did not even have time to put on my shoes.  Looking around, I noticed that the water was flooding all of the houses in the entire village. It’s hard for me to talk about it because we have lost our home and garden. But at least we managed to escape. When we got out, the flood nearly swept us away. I still don’t believe that we survived. My blood pressure rose, and I suddenly felt unwell. Even my spouse and children could not come to grips with it for a long time. I would not wish this experience on anyone. We were quickly evacuated to safety. We were temporarily housed in a school. Although we lost all our belongings, we are alive. The distributions of food, essential hygiene and household items came at a critical time for us. We welcomed this help from the American people. We can only be grateful for support in such circumstances,” says Khadicha.

USAID responds to humanitarian crises around the world, and when disaster strikes, as it did in May 2020 in Uzbekistan, USAID was ready to offer a helping hand.