Humanitarian Implementation Plan (HIP): The Tajikistan Crisis (ECHO/TJK/BUD/2012/91000) - Last update: 01/06/12, Version 1
1 . CONTEXT
In the last 12 months, Tajikistan has been affected by a series of external shocks which have had a serious impact on the food security and livelihoods of the most vulnerable population. These shocks include a very poor harvest due to drought in 2011, sharp increases in food, fodder and fuel prices and an extremely harsh winter in 2011-2012. While the situation was already giving cause for concern in late 2011, it has steadily worsened in 2012 due to the effects of an unusually long and harsh winter.
Tajikistan is characterized by a high reliance on imported food mainly due to poor productivity and limited availability of arable land (only 7%). Nonetheless, agriculture is the sector of employment for 55% of the population. Although Tajikistan has been seeking to improve its disaster management capacities, chronic poverty and vulnerability to natural hazards remains very high, particularly in remote areas. Despite the economic growth over the last decade, the country remains the poorest in Central Asia.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, mudflows, avalanches, and floods occur regularly in Tajikistan. However this year due to the exceptional weather conditions, an already vulnerable population in Tajikistan has lost a significant part of its crops, animals have died due to lack of fodder or pasture, the level of indebtedness has increased, and many do not have the resources to procure seeds for the planting season. Stocks of food and savings have been largely exhausted among the poorest. The main functioning coping mechanism is temporary migration notably to the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan.
According to the latest Integrated Food Security and Humanitarian Phase Classification round (IPC, January 2012), the number of people affected by the crisis – those classified in phase 3 or 4 – is about 500,000. Since December 2011, when the data collection took place and April 2012, the situation has worsened due to persisting harsh climatic conditions. It is assessed that the most affected people, are those living in mountainous areas and people with no access to land. People in the southern Khatlon area are also heavily affected as they suffered the 2011 drought, followed by the 2011-2012 harsh winter.
While national and local authorities have been responding to the crisis, the scale of the needs is such that particularly in remote and disaster prone areas, capacities are overwhelmed and needs cannot be met. Agricultural losses have been very significant. Farmers are unable to provide fodder for their animals and have no resources to purchase seeds for the next planting season resulting in a situation which cannot be reversed without external assistance.
In February 2012, the Ministry of Agriculture reported that the long winter had caused serious damage to agriculture and rural livelihood. Although there has been no formal request for international assistance, there is consensus among key stakeholders in the country that the situation has indeed become very serious and that immediate support to address food security is warranted to prevent starvation and a further deterioration of nutritional status.
Mainly due to lack of available funding, the international community has provided only limited assistance until now. For instance, Save the Children provided funds for seeds distribution in Khatlon for 9,000 households; the World Food Programme (WFP) has increased its Vulnerable Group Feeding programme to reach 20% of Rasht population instead of 10% previously, assisting with a one-off 2-month ration; the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched a food distribution for 500 households in Murgab, GBAO/Pamir; German Red Cross has launched a food distribution for 600 households in Sughd. The Russian government has provided 38 tons of in-kind humanitarian assistance and additional relief supplies are scheduled.