Disaster Preparedness

by Nathan Hamm on 11/11/2004

Ferghana.ru reports that foreign embassies and aid organizations are circulating disaster preparedness memos that mention, among other things, earthquakes.

I think I went through more earthquakes in my short time in Uzbekistan than I have in the rest of my life. I must ask, seriously, what could one possibly do to be safe in an earthquake in the former Soviet Union? When the biggest one I noticed during my time in Uzbekistan hit, I was eating lunch in my kitchen. I mentally ran through a list of things to do. All the while, I couldn’t help but remember the concrete slab factory I saw in Yakutsk. All it made were slabs of concrete to construct apartment buildings. From what I saw of partially constructed buildings in Uzbekistan, the slabs look like they are arranged into a somewhat sturdy house of cards that would surely tumble in a strong earthquake. So, the conclusion I reached was that enjoying my lunch and accepting whatever came my way was the best course of action. I guess that’s not the reassuring advice that embassy staffers are looking for, but…

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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