UNICEF prepares supplies for quake-affected school children in Tajikistan
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 9 August 2006 - The school year in Tajikistan begins just three weeks from now. But for 5,000 schoolchildren, that start date is uncertain.
The earthquake in Qumsangir, 180 km south of the capital Dushanbe, has left them with no classrooms, as 13 of the 44 schools in the area are severely damaged.
UNICEF Representative, Yukie Mokuo visited the affected sites on 8 August alongside Tajikistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education. The team found that many classrooms are unsafe and will not be ready for the beginning of the school year..
“Plans for repair and reconstruction are being discussed by the Government” said Mokuo, “UNICEF stands ready to provide school-in-a-box kits, school desks and chairs for a number of affected schools before school resumes in early September.”
Children are the most affected by the recent earthquake. There is a threat of a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases as the area relies solely on a damaged irrigation canal as its source of water supply for cooking and drinking. Sanitation conditions are also poor.
Immediately after the earthquake, UNICEF sent initial emergency supplies worth $10,000 containing hygiene kits, water purification tablets, towels, jerry cans and high protein biscuits to the affected areas. Another batch of supplies, mostly hygiene items, will be distributed next week in partnership with international non-governmental organizations working on health care and hygiene promotion.
UNICEF and its partners carried out a joint rapid assessment on water and sanitation and are now working to ensure their long-term rehabilitation.
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