UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
UN map of all requests for international assistance in the Caucasus/Central Asia, 2007-12
The crises for which the governments of Central Asia and the Caucasus have recently requested international relief assistance have been concentrated along a relatively narrow band, an intriguing United Nations map shows.
The map, above, more or less speaks for itself: the crises from 2007-12, both natural (floods, earthquakes and brutal winters) and manmade (revolutions and pogroms) all occurred almost entirely in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, along with the adjacent areas of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The only exception was the 2008 war in Georgia.
What to make of this concentration? Obviously some of it is just coincidence: in the past, other parts of the region have seen massive earthquakes (Armenia, Turkmenistan) or war-related humanitarian crises (all over the Caucasus).
But it's also true that Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are definitely the lowest-capacity states in the region, so if they have a crisis they are perhaps more likely to request international help. Still, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan did request help during this period.
Or, could the causality go the other way, and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan's weaknesses stem in part from their propensity to natural disaster? That is certainly beyond the scope of The Bug Pit's geographical analysis capabilities. But the map is food for thought, and a striking reminder that when it seems like those two countries have had all the bad luck lately, it's not just our imaginations.