Winter emergency in Tajikistan
Dushanbe, 8 February- This winter, Tajikistan is facing a severe energy deficit. The combination of the severe cold and energy crisis has significant and negative impacts.
The country’s electrical supply comes primarily from the Nurek hydroelectric dam (approx. 60% of national electrical supply), several thermal electric and small hydroelectric plants, and imports. For a variety of reasons, these sources are inadequate to meet current needs.
The combination of the various shocks related to the severe cold and energy crisis has had significant and negative impacts on vulnerable groups (and the general population) in Tajikistan. While the situation can be described as an “emergency,” the worry is that things may progressively deteriorate. Food security is under stress, and increased morbidity and mortality have been reported. According to the latest data, since late 2007, significant portions of the population have been relying on different coping mechanisms to address their food needs, some of which are negative and quite troublesome.
The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Tajikistan has established an emergency unit called “Severe Winter 2008” composed of key officials from the agency to collect and analyze information from districts and regions. Based on the daily briefings, the key points so far:
Access to electricity: Only about 19% of health institutions across the country have electricity, 18% of facilities have cut-off less than two hours a day and 63% of health institutions are without electricity for long periods at a time. Around 54% of health institutions have access to supplies of water. The current combination of energy shortage and severe cold weather within last few months has negatively impacted the wellbeing of children under five, particularly in newborns. Lack of energy and water supply in a majority of maternity hospitals has resulted in poor perinatal and neonatal care services. There are reports indicating newborn deaths due to electricity cut offs.