GLOFCA Team Collaborates to Enhance Natural Hazard Management in Almaty Region

Kazakhstan, August 2023 

This summer, the Kazakh mountains have witnessed a period of heightened natural hazards, particularly from glacier lakes and slopes near Almaty city. Intense rainfall triggered mudflows that damaged roads and structures, though fortunately, no lives were lost. In a bid to fortify the region against such threats, the GLOFCA team visited Almaty in August 2023 to advance the design of an Early Warning System (EWS) and continue their project work.

Key Partnerships for Safer Environments

During this visit, Dr. Alessandro Cicoira engaged with crucial organizations. He was welcomed by the Institute of Geography and Water Security, the Glaciological Centre Under the Auspices of UNESCO, and the State Institute Kazselezashita. These collaborations form the backbone of efforts to improve hazard management.

Concrete Steps for Mitigation

Dr. Cicoira’s stay included productive interactions. At the Institute of Geography, Prof Akhmetkal Medeu and Mr. Nikolay Popov discussed plans for implementing new mitigation measures in Kazakhstan. These measures are designed to minimize risks and enhance protection.

Field Insights Inform Action

A thorough field visit, including a revisit to the Medeu dam and surrounding areas, allowed the GLOFCA team to gather critical data. Colleagues from the Kazselezashita institute, led by Deputy Head Mr. Murat Kassenov, provided valuable insights into potential installation locations. These insights will shape implementation proposals and be presented at an upcoming workshop.

Towards a Stronger Early Warning System

Local experts contributed actively to shaping the EWS design. Valuable input on logistics, administration, politics, and technical aspects of the system was provided by colleagues from local institutions. Their shared goal is to create a modern, robust, and sustainable early warning system that safeguards Almaty, the former capital city, for years to come.

Fostering Successful Cooperation

The visit’s intensity was a result of the strong partnership between the University of Zurich and local collaborators. This collaboration has been instrumental in the project’s progress. With this visit, the project enters a pivotal phase, focusing on planning and implementing active mitigation measures to address the risk of mudflows.

As the GLOFCA team captured crucial insights and fostered collaboration, they demonstrated the power of international cooperation in mitigating natural hazards. The journey to secure Almaty’s safety continues, with practical steps towards a resilient future.

For more information about the project and its progress:


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