Main hazards and health threats in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan has a population of 5 million. It is a high-risk country for natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, mudslides, mudflows, avalanches, squalls, downpours, icing, frosts, droughts, destructive glacier fluctuation, breakthrough of mountainous lakes and rise of subsoil waters.
Kyrgyzstan is classified as the most seismically dangerous territory in central Asia and over 3000 earthquakes are registered annually. Devastating seismic catastrophes occur every 5–10 years.
Landslides, mudslides and avalanches
Decreasing forest coverage in many mountainous areas due to grazing and logging has made floods and mudslides more common. Mudslides and floods are frequent and dangerous, causing widespread human and material damage. The number of emergency situations caused by floods increased during 1994–2006.
Avalanches damage vital communication systems, such as roads and electricity power lines, and kill a number of people every year.
In recent years, sudden mudslides, mudflows and erosion in Mailuu Suu city have created a potential threat to the uranium tailings, which if damaged could result in hazardous waste spreading not only into the Mailuu Suu valley but also into the densely populated Ferghana valley. Further, radioactive elements carried by the Syrdarya River would end up in the already environmentally degraded Aral Sea and lead to long-term radioactive pollution.
Epidemiological health threats
The most vulnerable category for infectious diseases is still children under the age of 5. Human brucellosis and typhoid are wide spread. There are several endemic zones of malaria in Kyrgyzstan. There have been no reported human cases of avian influenza, although bird migration routes pass through the country.