Afghanistan + 1 more

Assistance to Tajikistan OCHA Situation Update No. 31

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GENERAL
The Government of RT has introduced new electricity tariffs from 1 January, 2003 of 1.6 dirams (0,5 =A2) per 1 kW/h up to 250 kW/h per month and 2.7 dirams (0,9 =A2) per each additional kW/h.

Major political events and visits:

Central Asian Cooperation Organization summit in Astana, Kazakhstan; Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Visit of Defence Minister of France.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS

Discussions on border delimitation issues between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan were renewed following the clashes between citizens of border districts of Sughd (Tajikistan) and Batken (Kyrgyzstan) provinces in the beginning of January 2003.

AFGHANISTAN

A joint operation of WHO, AKDN and Ministry of Health of Afghanistan to contain an outbreak of whooping cough in the remote north-eastern Afghanistan started in December last year. Currently the most infected area is Darwaz district of Badakhshan. The number of threatened lives in Maymai, Nusai, Shekai and Kufab sub-districts varies from 40,000 to 70,000 although the exact figures on morbidity and mortality are unknown. WHO team in Kabul requested WHO, AKDN and OCHA in Tajikistan to facilitate the formalities needed for the cross-border operations, as the Afghan Darwaz district is inaccessible from Afghan side, especially in winter. It has been planned that the operation team in Afghanistan would enter Tajikistan in order to deliver urgently needed drugs and medical supplies to the infected population. WHO and OCHA established contacts with Russian Border Forces and local authorities to facilitate formal arrangements, which are necessary for using the simplified border crossing procedure (without visas and/or passports) at the unofficial border crossing points. It has also been agreed to transport the specimen of whooping cough tests to WHO regional office in Cairo through Dushanbe and Islamabad. The UNICEF office in Dushanbe will transport the specimen to/from Dushanbe.

On 22 December 2002 the Kabul Declaration on Good-neighborly Relations was signed by the Transitional Administration of Afghanistan and the Governments of China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan reaffirming the commitments of the parties to constructive and supportive bilateral relationships based on the principles of territorial integrity, mutual respect, friendly relations, co-operation and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

ONGOING ACTIVITIES

WFP Tajikistan, together with its implementing partners distributed 2951.3 MT of various food commodities to17,475 beneficiaries within the ten days of December 2002 and beginning of January 2003. A total of 86,987 MT of different food commodities were distributed by WFP during 2002 under PRRO 6087.01 and EMOP 6288.00.

The second cycle of VGF food distributions started with the food distribution in Murgab, Rushan and Darvaz districts, GBAO. Food basket includes rations of wheat flour, vegetable oil, peas and CSB and sugar only for specific groups (i.e. women and children). The reports from the field indicate that this group - pregnant and nursing women and children between 6-29 months age, represents 7-7.5% of total targeted beneficiaries. The second round of School Feeding Evaluation survey aimed at assessing program's impact on the attendance and enrolment of children in schools will cover 136 schools in 5 regions, selected on random basis. The School Feeding baseline survey will be completed in January 2003. The responses on the questionnaires will be sent to WFP SPF for further analysis, and the results will be available late March 2003. The survey is implemented by WFP staff and in some areas jointly with IPs.

The WHO Tajikistan Liaison Officer participated in the annual senior management meeting of the Ministry of Health held on 6 January, 2003. The agenda included a broad range of issues related to the health care system, including collaboration between WHO and the Ministry of Health.

Within the UNFPA funded project "Strengthening Ministry of Health and National Reproductive Health Centers management capacity and developing Reproductive Health management information system" medical equipment for a total of US$ 22,000 was purchased for distribution among medical facilities to strengthen their technical capacity of the medical facilities.

UNICEF and National Commission for Child Protection representatives visited Sughd province to brief all relevant authorities on the policy of de-institutionalisation of institutionalized children, CRC, and the Co-operation document between the Government and UNICEF. Discussions with the province authorities resulted in selecting Urunkhujaev Institution located in Gafurov district for the pilot project and establishment of a family support unit and de-institutionalization. UNICEF is providing vaccines, financial and logistic supports to set up training in the framework of measles outbreak control activity in Khatlon province to be carried out for two weeks from January 16-31, 2003 in partnership with the Ministry of Health and MERLIN. Up-to-date 99 new cases of measles in Khatlon were reported.

PLEDGES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation will provide US$102 mln. and $45 mln. respectively to finance small businesses in Central Asia. The programme in Tajikistan includes Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) Finance Facility to support local entrepreneurs, to be launched soon.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.