Tajikistan is not only experiencing the harshest winter in three decades but is faced with an evolving crisis that will likely have a significant impact on the already vulnerable situation of children and women. The country has one of the highest under-five mortality rates in the region. Compounding the extremely cold weather is a severe energy deficit that has reached emergency proportions. Due to the increased demand and shortage of electrical supply from neighbouring countries, the level of the Nurek reservoir (where approximately 60 per cent of electricity supply comes from) has been run down to seven days of generating supply. The country will be deprived of a major source of electricity once the supply has been used. Of the estimated 7 million people affected by the crisis, approximately half are children, and close to 1 million are children under the age of five. Vulnerable to cold, hunger and trauma, children and women in this country require urgent life-saving assistance to be able to survive. Using its existing emergency stockpile and regular resources, UNICEF has immediately responded to the emergency situation and since the last week of January has provided immediate life-saving emergency supplies to maternity hospitals. UNICEF and its partners, including other UN agencies and international and national non-governmental organisations, are working closely with the Government of Tajikistan to respond swiftly and effectively to the crisis. To finance these efforts, the United Nations will launch a joint appeal this week and UNICEF will be part of the joint appeal process. In the meantime, UNICEF is requesting an initial US$ 2.5 million to meet the immediate life-saving needs of children and women in the affected areas.
Tajikistan Immediate Needs Document 14 Feb 2008 [pdf]