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Tajikistan: Cold Wave OCHA Situation Report

Newsnote: Tajikistan Cold Wave OCHA Situation Report No. 2

1. Abnormally cold weather conditions in Tajikistan, causing heavy snow fall and frozen rivers, have led to damage of water and electrical supply systems and isolation of mountainous villages.
2. Roads between several districts have been blocked by heavy snowfall, negatively impacting local supplies of food and other basic commodities.
3. Complicating the situation is a sharp decline in the water levels in the Nurek reservoir, which powers the hydro-electric Nurek Power Plant.
4. Government has prioritized major urban areas for electricity supply and continues a strict rationing of electricity with limits for industries, non-essential businesses and street lights. In rural areas electricity supply has already been rationed to one or two hours a day.
5. Despite increased inflow rate into the Nurek reservoir, the water level has further lowered to 5.7 meters above the dead-zone. If all factors remain equal, Norak Power Plant's electricity production may fall to its minimum by mid February, resulting in a loss of about 39% of current supply of electricity in the country.

6. The Government of Tajikistan requested UN assistance in dealing with the current energy crises, specifically requesting fuel oil, gasoline and kerosene, diesel engine generators, power transformers, power cables and food products.
7. The Ministry of Health has approached
UNICEF for support with emergency generators, baby blankets and other non-food items. UNICEF estimates that it will require US$ 720,000 to support the Ministry of Health in its request.
8. Humanitarian implications of the cold weather conditions in general and the energy crisis in particular are further being assessed through a number of rapid assessments by government, UN agencies, IFRC and NGOs. The outcome of these assessments will need to be analysed together with the government's contingency energy rationing plans to further determine the likely impact of the energy crisis on social service delivery. Most of the survey/assessment results will be available by February 6th:
- A group of World Bank Energy Experts will present the results of their assessment of energy sector by Monday February 4th.
- IFRC/ RCST assessment report is expected to be ready by 6th of February.
- Save the Children conducted a Rapid Food security assessment in two districts of Khatlon province and will report results on February 6th.
- WFP and NGO partners has been systematically collected data on food security which tend to indicate worsening of the situation in the last three months of 2007 not directly linked to energy problems.
9. The initial results of the rapid assessment of urban households by REACT secretariat confirmed that electricity is indeed the main source of heating for urban populations. It further showed that the disruption of electricity is having a negative impact on domestic water supply. Respondents also indicated price increases and, as a result, a decrease in purchasing power.

10. Government's efforts to secure electricity from alternative sources have resulted in an increase of up to 9.8 GWh in imports of electricity from neighbouring Central Asian countries. The government has also secured 35 % increase in gas supply from Uzbekistan which will reduce reliance on electricity by the population. 11. The government has further mobilised all available capacity to provide electricity and heating for the population and to clean blocked roads. 12. UNICEF has supplied jerry cans, bed-linen, baby blankets, soap, emergency health kits and blankets. High protein biscuits have also been provided to orphan homes, boarding schools, and maternity and children hospitals.

13. The REACT forum has held several meetings thus far to inform partners on the situation and discuss response needs. Five sectors under REACT, namely food, health, water and sanitation (WASH), education and shelter have been mobilized to coordinate further in-depth assessments. 14. The UN RC has established a Disaster Management Team (DMT) consisting of individuals drawn from REACT and the UN. The DMT will commence the preparation of a flash appeal in close consultation with Committee of Emergency Situation, bilateral missions, OCHA and resident UN agencies. 15. The next REACT meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, February 6th at 9:00 and sectoral coordination meetings have also been scheduled on WASH, health, food security and shelter/NFI.




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