CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES
A woman walks her children home from a community kindergarten, in Samarkandek Village, Kyrgyzstan. The school is piloting a Disaster Risk Reduction Programme to better prepare for emergencies in a region prone to natural and man-made hazards.
Children and Women in Crisis
Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States is a region prone to natural hazards, which have caused major economic and human loss, destroyed social infrastructure and left children and women highly vulnerable to displacement, protection concerns and severe health problems. Political instability within the region and in neighbouring countries continues. An estimated 2.5 million people were still displaced at the end of 2010 in Europe and Central Asia as a result of conflict arising from independence claims and territorial disputes.1
In July 2011, an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale in the Ferghana Valley, felt along the Kyrgyz-Uzbekistan border, served as a reminder of the risk to populations and highlighted the need for accelerated disaster management planning. Turkey witnessed an influx of more than 11,000 people from Syria who were fleeing civil unrest – the majority of them children2 – in addition to a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in October. The resurgence of polio in 2010 after more than a decade in Central Asia and the ongoing measles outbreaks since 2008 – mainly in Eastern European countries and in Uzbekistan – reflect the fragility of the region with regard to vaccine-preventable diseases.
Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012
In 2012, the regional office will focus on:
- Supporting governments in developing national capacity in emergency preparedness and response through simulation exercises.
- Strengthening emergency risk analysis to anticipate, prepare for and respond to humanitarian situations.
- Continuing disaster risk reduction activities in Central Asia and the South Caucasus and expanding to other disaster-prone countries to build systems.
- Developing regional capacity in inter-agency and cluster coordination for the WASH, nutrition and education sectors.
- Strengthening government capacities in immunization, surveillance and early warning systems and risk/crisis communication, in collaboration with the World Health Organization.
- Improving regional coordination among agencies regarding the mapping of emergency risks and strengthening national disaster management and response.
In 2012, UNICEF will continue to respond to the needs of 40,000 children and their families in Abkhazia, Georgia, in collaboration with local and international NGOs and UN agencies. Support will focus on post-conflict recovery interventions to strengthen delivery of basic social and health services. The expected priority results are:
- Some 40,000 children will be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases through strengthened routine immunization.
- Some 10,000 schoolchildren in 50 schools in Abkhazia will be protected from poor hygiene and sanitation-related diseases through rehabilitation of school water and sanitation infrastructure.
- Approximately 12,000 of the country’s most vulnerable children, including children with disabilities, will have more equitable access to basic social services through a network of 54 community support centres.
In 2012, UNICEF will continue to work with the Government of Kyrgyzstan, other UN agencies and NGOs to increase the sustainability of the emergency response in affected areas and strengthen emergency preparedness mechanisms. As agency lead of the WASH, education and nutrition clusters and child protection and gender-based violence sub-clusters, UNICEF is taking an active part in the inter-agency contingency planning.
- Child protection will focus on the development of sustainable social services for children and families.
- UNICEF will procure, for 40,000 persons, emergency stockpiles as well as water tanks, hygiene kits, water purification tablets and soap for distribution, and will contribute to the physical construction and rehabilitation of latrines and WASH facilities in schools and hospitals.
- Education activities will focus on disaster preparedness through risk reduction in 20 pilot schools and 10 preschools and the procurement and pre-positioning of emergency education supplies for 10,000 children.
- Health and nutrition efforts will focus on developing sustainable and quality health services, ensuring adequate access to micronutrients for 250,000 children and 50,000 women, and managing the cold storage chain for vaccines to cover immunization needs.
In 2012, UNICEF will further strengthen capacity and coordination to respond to disasters as they occur – in the context of its role in the various humanitarian clusters – focusing on ensuring children’s continued access to essential health and nutrition, protection, education and water and sanitation services. The expected results in the ongoing programmes are:
- More than 5,000 severely and moderately malnourished children will be treated with essential life-saving nutritional items and micronutrient/food supplements.
- A one-time countrywide diphtheria supplementary immunization activity will be conducted among 3–21-year-olds to prevent a potential large-scale outbreak given the existing immunity gaps, thus also preventing spillover to neighbouring countries.
- More than 20,000 children will benefit from improved water and sanitation facilities and hygiene education, and some 400 children will benefit from a new school facility following a disaster.
- As follow-up to the polio outbreak, more than 700 people, mainly children affected by the polio epidemic and children with physical disabilities and their families, will be provided with sustainable social services through community-based rehabilitation in 24 districts.
- Efforts will focus on preparedness to respond to affected populations in the event of an emergency for improved access to quality life-saving primary health-care services through supply of essential health kits; access of children to psychosocial support, learning spaces, essential learning materials and early childhood development activities; and access of families to essential WASH supplies.
Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011
As of end October, UNICEF had received US$100,000 (5 per cent) of the requested US$2,200,000. Despite funding shortfalls, UNICEF used other sources for its regional activities. The regional office supported Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan country offices, national authorities and partners in emergency preparedness planning and management and assisted Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in implementing disaster risk reduction activities in education.
Disaster risk reduction capacity was developed for more than 28,000 children, educators and staff. Teaching materials were adapted and methodologies for the assessment of school safety were developed as a pilot in Kyrgyzstan.
UNICEF responded to the humanitarian and protection needs of 40,000 children and their families in Abkhazia, Georgia. Training, equipment and supplies for maternal and child health care were provided and a network of community centres was established to provide basic social services.
In Turkey, UNICEF supported the government by providing psychosocial training to teachers and getting children back to school after the October earthquake.
In Kyrgyzstan, several post-conflict projects in health, education, child protection and WASH were implemented.
UNICEF assisted the response to the 2010 polio outbreak in Tajikistan and neighbouring countries; the region has been confirmed polio-free once again.
Funding Requirements for 2012
UNICEF is requesting US$8,241,000 for humanitarian efforts in the region to work with governments and partners in delivering quality and timely assistance during emergencies. This includes simulation exercises and capacity development of UNICEF staff, as well as governments and partners. The regional office will continue supporting offices with integrating disaster risk reduction into regular programmes to build resilience and mitigate the impact of natural hazards on children and women.
1 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, ‘Internal Displacement in Europe’, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Geneva, 2010, www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004CE90B/(httpRegionPages)/89DF093F3A3371D6C125786A00495575?OpenDocument, accessed 20 November 2011.
2 United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘UNICEF Situation Report: Turkey borders with Syria, UNICEF, New York, 28 June 2011, p. 1.