Updating of the Lake Sarez early warning system is being carried out late due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rustam Nazarzoda, the head of the Emergencies Committee under the Government of Tajikistan, told reporters in Dushanbe on February 11. 

“To date, Lake Sarez does not pose any threat to the population of Tajikistan and downstream countries of the Central Asian region,” Nazarzoda said.  

According to him, the planned replacement of equipment of the early warning system installed at Lake Sarez and surrounding areas in 2000 was not implemented on time due to the coronavirus crisis. 

“The equipment will be replaced in the first half of this year,” Nazarzoda noted.  

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has awarded a US$750,000 grant for implementation of a project aimed at modernization and re-equipment of a monitoring system installed at Lake Sarez.

Nazarzoda said a contract had been signed with Kazakhstan’s KS-Group Limited Liability Partnership, which had been selected through an open tender conducted by the ADB.  

Recall, the Lake Sarez Risk Mitigation Project (LSRMP) was launched in 2000.  The project aiming at reducing the risk related to the natural structure by implementing a monitoring and an early warning system, by training the population leaving downstream and developing long term solutions, is a partnership between the Government and the people of Tajikistan, the World Bank and the donor community represented by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  The main Tajik counterpart for the project is the Emergencies Committee.

An early warning system installed with support from the Government of Switzerland automatically informs the administrative center of Rushan district, Khorog and Dushanbe of any natural changes taking place in the Lake Sarez area.  A special directorate on use of the Usoy system and Lake Sarez problems has been established in Dushanbe.

The emergency management agency of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) jointly with international humanitarian organization, FOCUS, conducts special training for the population leaving downstream.