© UNICEF Tajikistan/2010/Sodiqov

A girl receives an oral polio vaccine during a countrywide immunization campaign. The first known outbreak of polio in the country since 1997 struck 458 people, nearly 90 per cent of them children under age 15.

Children and women in crisis

In 2010, a string of emergencies caused by natural disasters and epidemics affected thousands of children and women in Tajikistan, the poorest country in Central Asia.1 Imposing mountainous terrain and geographical isolation make assisting the most vulnerable children even more difficult. An earthquake in Vanj District in January and flooding in Kulob District in April knocked out schools, medical centres, and water and sanitation facilities, restricting women’s and children’s access to essential services, and weakening the health and nutritional status of close to 10,000 people. The first known outbreak of polio in the country since 19972 struck 458 people, nearly 90 per cent of them under age 15, and severely taxed the capacity of national response systems.3 The outbreak was contained, but not before it spread to several neighbouring countries. The global economic crisis, high food prices, political tension with Uzbekistan and deteriorating internal security, particularly in the Rasht Valley, have compounded the acute distress and humanitarian need of ordinary people in Tajikistan.

Meeting urgent needs and building resilience in 2011

In 2011, UNICEF will continue to work with the Government of Tajikistan, other UN agencies and NGOs to improve the welfare of 3.1 million children as well as 1.7 million women of reproductive age. UNICEF, which is the lead agency for the WASH cluster and co-lead in the education cluster with Save the Children, expects to achieve the following results:

Humanitarian funding at work: Highlights from 2010

In 2010, UNICEF estimated that US$6,200,000 was needed for humanitarian activities in Tajikistan. As of October 2010, a total of US$200,000 – only 3 per cent of the goal – had been received. UNICEF, however,was able to mobilize resources quickly for the polio emergency and supported six rounds of national and one round of sub-national polio immunizations. Around 2,000 people affected by floods in Kulob District benefited from an emergency hygiene campaign that included distribution of chlorine tablets; around 300 households (2,100 people) received water containers, hygiene kits, soap and water purification tablets. In 510 schools of the 20 most disaster-prone districts, over 1,000 teachers were trained in simple and effective disaster risk reduction measures. In addition, about 750 children and 560 adults received psychosocial support following the earthquake in Vanj.

Funding requirements for 2011

To make significant strides in stabilizing the welfare of women and children in disaster-prone areas of Tajikistan, UNICEF is requesting US$5,540,000 for 2011. Immediate and full funding can help children and women in Tajikistan find a foothold of health and stability.

More information regarding the details of the humanitarian action plans for Tajikistan can be found at www.unicef.org/hac2011 and the country office at www.unicef.org/tajikistan.

1 United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2010 – The Real Wealth of Nations: Path-ways to human development, UNDP, New York, 2010, p. 145.
2 World Health Organization, ‘Polio in Tajikistan, First Importation Since Europe Certified Polio-Free’, WHO Global Alert and Response, Geneva, 23 April 2010, <www.who.int/csr/don/2010_04_23/en/index.html>, accessed 7 December 2010.
3 World Health Organization, ‘Polio in Central Asia and the North Caucasus Federal Region of the Russian Federation’, WHO Global Alert and Response, Geneva, 13 November 2010, <www.who.int/csr/don/2010_11_13/en/index.html>,accessed 7 December 2010.

UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2011 (in US dollars) Total $5,540,000