© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-1783/Pirozzi

An injured child from Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital. Global economic recession coupled with worsening water, energy and food shortages have increased vulnerabilities for children in a country where half the population lives in poverty.

Critical Issues for Children and Women

Increasing water, energy and food shortages, fallout from the recent global financial crisis and greater frequency of extreme weather events are collectively threatening the health, nutrition and overall development of children in Tajikistan.  In May 2009, severe flooding and mudslides in two thirds of the country temporarily – and in some cases permanently – displaced thousands of people.  On top of these disasters, remittances from the country’s diaspora declined by 35 per cent in the first six months of 2009 due to the global economic recession, reducing a vital source of income for many families.  Given the weakened social infrastructure, a fragile economy, more frequent water and energy shortages and increases in heavy rainfall in some parts of the country and drought in others, an estimated 1.5 million people are currently at risk of waterborne or infectious diseases, undernutrition, disruption of education, and abuse or exploitation, all of which undermine their well-being and development.

Planned Humanitarian Action for 2010

While continuing its life-saving and immediate response to extreme weather emergencies, UNICEF together with the Government of Tajikistan and partners will support early recovery interventions to respond to the humanitarian needs of more than 200,000 vulnerable families, particularly those in hard-to-reach areas.  As leader or co-leader of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Nutrition and Education Clusters and the Child Protection Sub-Cluster, UNICEF will coordinate the efforts of partners to reduce the vulnerabilities of at least 100,000 children under five, 50,000 school-aged children and young people as well as 10,000 children in need of special protection measures. Following are the expected results of UNICEF emergency interventions:

Health and Nutrition: UNICEF together with the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme and other partners will concentrate efforts on providing routine vaccinations, vitamin A supplements, essential drugs, basic and emergency health kits and oral rehydration mixes to children under five and pregnant and lactating women.  Vulnerable women and children will also have access to fortified nutritional products, micronutrient supplements and therapeutic feeding where necessary.  The promotion of appropriate infant and young child feeding practices will also benefit many families. 

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Access to sufficient safe water, sanitation and hygiene as per Sphere standards will be provided for the most at-risk women and children and for disaster-affected communities.  The UNICEF-led WASH Cluster and its emergency assessment team, together with the Government’s water and sanitation agencies, will also focus on improving preparedness and response in emergency situations through the development of an early warning system and rapid assessments.

Education: UNICEF will support the Ministry of Education and the State Committee on Emergency Situations to ensure at least 50,000 school-aged children affected by emergencies have uninterrupted access to education through the establishment temporary learning spaces, rehabilitation of existing school structures and promotion of catch-up programmes.  Adoption of standards on education in emergencies will also be promoted as well as strengthened partnerships with parent–teacher associations.  UNICEF will continue to co-lead the Education Cluster together with Save the Children to advance immediate and coordinated emergency response by the Government and international organizations in education.

Child Protection: UNICEF will work with key partners to protect the interests 10,000 children with disabilities and/or deprived of parental care and who have been placed in residential care institutions, and create a protective environment for up to 100,000 children living in areas where the unpredictable extreme weather conditions pose a threat to family settings, placing the children at greater risk of institutionalization.

HIV/AIDS: UNICEF and its key partners will support measures to ease the impact of disruption of Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission, paediatric AIDS and youth-friendly services for those affected by HIV/AIDS during emergencies.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs to fulfil
Core Commitments for Children for 2010
Sector US$
Health 600,000
Nutrition 700,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) 1,000,000
Education 1,000,000
Child Protection 500,000
HIV/AIDS 200,000
Total 4,000,000