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UNICEF responds to Tajikistan fire tragedy

© UNICEF/SWZK00288/Pirozzi
A child at an institution for children with disabilites in Tajikistan.

Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Wednesday 11 January, 2006: UNICEF sends condolences to the families of the 13 children who died on Sunday, January 8 as a result of a fire in the Chorbog Institution for children with disabilities.

Responding to the tragedy, UNICEF immediately provided emergency supplies to the 77 surviving children who were moved to a special lyceum for the disabled, including 150 blankets and 100 hygiene kits. Additional items, such as special toilet pots, beds and mattresses were delivered on Monday, 9 January.

At the same time, UNICEF and Ministry of Social Protection and Labour are organizing social workers for the parents of the survivors to explore the possibility of children going home.  Five children have already returned to their families.

“This is such a tragedy to start our year 2006,” said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Tajikistan. “While our thoughts are with the victims, we are also working with the government to respond to the short-term needs of the survivors and continue our initiatives for community- based care for children with disabilities.”

UNICEF and the Dushanbe City Government are implementing a new initiative to step up community-based day care services, allowing parents to keep their disabled children at home and take them to day care centres for treatment.

“The focus should be on the ability of these children, not their disability,” added Ms. Mokuo.

Children with disabilities have that same rights as all other children and should enjoy full participation in their families, communities and societies. For decades, vast numbers of children with disabilities in Tajikistan have been placed in institutions, cut off from society and denied their most basic rights.

UNICEF hopes that future reform processes will acknowledge the rights of children with disabilities, change attitudes towards disability and integrate children with disabilities into society. 

Unfortunately donors are not providing enough funding for programmes for children with disabilities in Tajkistan. Adequate funding would accelerate the reform process for these children.

For more information:

Fakhrinisso Kurbonshoeva, Communication Officer.
Tel (cell): (+992 917) 70 06 84.



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