Severe winter threatens children in Tajikistan
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, February 1 –
• At least two reported new born deaths in maternity hospitals owing to electricity shortages
According to the regional weather outlook, cold temperatures and extreme weather could continue for the whole of February. The energy shortage has been caused by a number of factors, including the freezing of rivers feeding an important hydro-electric plant in the country and a drop in energy supplies from neighbouring countries such as Uzbekistan.
As a response to the growing needs of the country’s population, a UN inter-agency team known as REACT has partnered government officials in order to carry out a rapid assessment of the situation in the country. Moving around the country presents its own problems are road systems are poorly developed and mountain passes are impassable owing to high snowfall. The REACT team is expected to report back later next week.
Based on requests for assistance from the Ministry of Health UNICEF has already procured generators (25) and distributed: soap (2,000 packets) and baby blankets (2,000), jerry cans (200 x 10 ltr and 100 x 20 ltr) baby bed-linen( 200 sets). Specifically for children’s residential institutions, UNICEF has supplied: soap(490 packets), adult size blankets(260 sets), baby blankets(230).
Discussions with government officials and on-the-ground knowledge has prompted UNICEF to appeal to donors for $720,000 to improve its ability to help meet the needs of children. UNICEF intends to use the funds to buy electricity generators, incubators, emergency health kits, essential drugs, high protein biscuits, winter blankets, bedding, and sanitation items