Emergencies and disaster risk reduction
Children, teachers and parents are trained to understand and manage risks and learn how to behave in case of emergencies like floods, landslides or earthquakes
According to the World Bank, Tajikistan is the most climate-vulnerable country in the region. The country experiences multiple natural hazards such as avalanches, earthquakes, floods, mudflows and landslides every year. According to Tajik CoES, between 1997 and 2017, approximately 150 natural disasters occurred each year. It is also situated in a seismically high-risk zone.
It is estimated that 88.3 per cent of children in Tajikistan live in areas of high to very high seismic hazard. Children make up 50-60 per cent of those affected by disasters annually.
Disasters and climate change threaten children’s most basic rights, putting their survival and well-being in danger. Major climate related-risks which can have a profound impact on children in Tajikistan arise from the following phenomena:
- Drought and water stress: Nearly 25 per cent of children in Tajikistan live in areas of high or extremely high drought severity;
- Floods: Around 30 per cent of children of Tajikistan live in areas that are extremely prone to floods. Access to sanitation services is about 15 per cent, with 44 per cent in cities and 3 per cent in villages;
- Heat stress: This becoming a growing and a regular problem for children, especially for children under 12 months. Infants and small children are more likely to die or suffer from heatstroke because they are unable to regulate their body temperature and control their surrounding environment;
- Air pollution: Both indoor (mostly derived from the use of fuels and coal stoves), and outdoor, represents a key risk for children. Exposure to air pollutants through inhalation is particularly dangerous for children because their lungs are small and still developing until around the age of 18;
- Change in the incidence and geographic spread of diseases: Changes in temperature, precipitation and humidity have a direct impact on the reproduction and survival of the mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Stagnant water from increased rainfall, floods or extreme weather events can influence the spread of water- and food-borne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera and meningococcal meningitis.
The National DRR Strategy as well as the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy aim at ensuring that coordinated and consistent action are taken to address increasing climate and disaster risk and its growing negative impact on Tajikistan in terms of deaths and injuries, the number of people affected and economic losses.
UNICEF is strategically well positioned to take the issues related to EPR, DRR and CCA forward. This recognizes the comparative advantages of the UNICEF’s global emergency response systems, core commitments for children in emergencies and country level engagement with line ministries.
UNICEF places an emphasis on strengthening the emergency preparedness and response readiness as well as the mainstreaming of DRR throughout the programs as a cross-sectorial strategy. In this process, UNICEF works closely with the Government and other partners, including other UN agencies and CSOs, to increase resilience at the community level with a focus on the most vulnerable. The key priority is also to advance the EPR and DRR programming by building the capacity of government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and educational and health services to better prepare for and respond to the range of natural disasters that frequently affect the country.
UNICEF is building on recent improvements in joint systems that support humanitarian action, with the overall aim to achieve faster scaling-up of the response in new emergencies. As part of this initiatives, we are working to improve capacities for emergency preparedness and response at all levels.
Interventions will also be focused on collecting data and evidence on child and community vulnerability to disasters and climate change, and costing of potential mitigation and adaptations models. This will result in the better profiling and analysis of the risks posed to the most vulnerable children, developing cost-effective mitigation and adaptation models, and making the case for increased investments in key priority areas for children for strengthening their resilience to disasters and climate change.
UNICEF collaborating with partners to facilitate an enabling educational system environment, that will strengthen the resilience of children and will provide safe education spaces. Interventions under this component aims at preparing children and their communities for possible disasters and reducing their impact. Children, teachers, parents and other community members will be trained and educated to understand and manage risks and to learn risk reduction, preparedness, and response actions for emergencies caused by floods, landslides, earthquakes, or other risks.
UNICEF will strive to ensure greater involvement of youth in EPR, DRR and CCA at national and local levels by enhancing their understanding of disaster risks, mitigation, prevention and preparedness measures; and effective climate change adaptation approaches. Innovative solutions, including the use of technology, will be explored with/by youth and children towards building more effective DRR education, climate change awareness, and youth and community mobilization.