Tajikistan: Civil unrest - DREF operation n° MDRTJ015

Summary: Early morning on 24th July 2012, Tajik government forces launched a special military operation in Khorugh city, the administrative centre of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, also known under the Russian acronym of “GBAO”, in the east of the country. As a result of the military operation in the city, the population was seriously affected.

According to reports, an estimated 50% of the Khorugh population have been relocated into the nearby villages and put up in Tem village, Porshnev, and Roshtqala districts. The homes and public buildings in the city districts of UPD, BarKhorugh and Khlebzavod have been heavily damaged. Most of the residents have left these areas and abandoned their houses, home properties, and food stocks. At least 30 civilians, 18 soldiers and 30 militants were killed during the fighting. All means of communication including transport and mass media were blocked in the region, electricity was cut off and the water supply system was damaged, and several parts of the city were left without drinking water in Khorugh city.

On 25th July 2012 a ceasefire was announced by both sides, and negotiations started. The government and the armed groups have agreed to observe the ceasefire and the armed groups started to turn over a certain number of weapons and the assailants. Talks continued between the government and the armed groups and other parties involved. It is expected that this process will move forward and at some point the Government of Tajikistan will formally announce an end to the operations and remove the troops from the area, signaling a return to normalcy.

Since 26th July there have not been any reported exchanges of fire in Khorugh city. Reports indicate that the atmosphere continues to be fragile and tense, and the population is fearful to move about freely. This is aggravated by the continued presence of military troops in residential areas.

The rapid assessment conducted by the Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan (RCST) in Roshtqala,
Shughnon districts and Khorugh city revealed that 51,960 people (10,392 families) were economically and psychologically affected. The most affected populations are those who are living in those streets where the operation was conducted and those residents who were relocated into nearby villages and districts (hosted with either relatives or local residents) in considerable numbers living in each household and having limited means for food and essential items for their daily life. It is also identified that the worst affected population are elderly people, women and children, who are most vulnerable by being exposed to the situation.

Based on the rapid assessment, this DREF operation is focusing on providing support and assistance to the most affected population in Khorugh city of GBAO. Basic supplementary food parcels and hygiene kits will be provided to 1,620 families (9,720 people) to help them cope with the consequences of the events; psychosocial support will be rendered to 7,000 people who got shocked and stressed as a result of the fights in Khorugh city, Roshtqala and Porshnev districts and Tem village.

This operation is expected to be implemented over 3 months and will therefore be completed by 6th November 2012. A Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation, i.e. by 6th February 2012.