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Assistance to Tajikistan OCHA Situation Update No. 32

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
GENERAL
According to the official data on Tajikistan for 2002, GDP increased by 9.1% (over the period of 1991-2001, GDP decreased by 64%) while industrial production rose by 8.2 % compared to 2001 and inflation rate was reported to be at 14.5%. Figures for the agricultural sector show that total production increased by 15% in 2002 with 515,000 MT of cotton (113.9% of 2001) and 700,000 MT of wheat produced, potato production increased by 15.7% and vegetables - by 19.3%.

The reporting period was marked by the dismissal of several high-ranking officials from their posts: Ministers of Health and Communication, Labour and Social Security, Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Judges and Chairmen of several districts and towns of Khatlon and Sughd provinces.

Major political events and visits:

CIS -7 group of countries International conference in Switzerland, informal CIS summit in Kiev, visit of Foreign Minister of India, Czech delegation headed by Trade Minister and Deputy Minister of Economy.

Donors' missions:

World bank, Islamic Development Bank, DFID.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS

President Rakhmonov approved a National Demography Policy Concept Implementation Program for 2003-2015. This Programme was developed following the President's speech in February last year in which he had expressed his concern at the demographic situation in the country. National GDP reduction, coupled with population increases having had a negative effect on the country's economy. The President stressed the strategic importance of influencing the demographic processes and effective family planning programs. The approved programme is aimed at creating favourable conditions for appropriate demographic development and improvement of living standards. The program budget is 250,000 TJS and is planned to be covered by both on-budget and non-budgetary sources.

A Tuberculosis Prevention Program for Tajikistan for 2003-2010 was approved under the Coordination Committee on Combating TB, chaired by Vice Prime-Minister Sharopova, established by the Government of RT. The Program includes step-by-step introduction strategy of DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy Short courses) throughout the country. The action plan and task division within the program will be discussed and agreed at an organizational committee meeting consisting of all involved participants on 24 March 2003, World TB Day.

Following the MSF report on the major measles outbreak in Rasht Valley in December 2002, a mass-immunization campaign was organized with the joint efforts of MERLIN, MSF, UNICEF and the Ministry of Health in six districts covering 65,000 children. Some 4,000 more children will be vaccinated in March.

International Year of Fresh Water

The UN has named 2003 'The International year of fresh water' following an initiative led by President Rahmanov. A number of events and activities have been planned. The Government of Tajikistan is planning to hold the International Forum on Fresh Water in Dushanbe in September 2003 as well as preparing a variety of brochures and leaflets on water resources in Tajikistan. A number of television documentaries are also planned under the common title "Water is a Source of Life".

At the initiative of UNICEF, UN Agencies in Tajikistan are organizing a six month exhibition of photos, drawings and video clips highlighting the international year of fresh water. The exhibition is planned to be open in March 2003 and will include materials from UN Agencies, international and local Agencies and NGOs as well as individual contributions. With the support of UNICEF's Water and Environmental Sanitation project (WES) and Save the Children (UK), the youth of Khalton are organizing a regional water forum to be held in March and highlighting the International Year of Fresh Water. This event is part of WES' ongoing water awareness workshops & campaigns with the participation of 300 students, 7 schools, and 20 youth clubs. Over 200 schools and 12 districts in Tajikistan in collaboration with Ministry of Education, SES, and General Directorial of Rural Water Works take part in UNICEF's WES project. In addition to local activities, for the first time this year, UNICEF is sponsoring two representatives from Tajikistan to take part in the Children's Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan.

Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of Nature Protection of RT, only 30% of rural and 30% of urban population of Kulyab zone of Khatlon Province have access to clean drinking water. The population of other districts such as Yavan have to travel up to 5 kms to get water from river sources, while inhabitants of Dangara have had to buy water for the price 5-18 TJS per ton. The use of water from unprotected sources was identified as the main cause of the spread of water-borne diseases in districts like Moskovskiy, Farkhor, Bokhtar and Yavan.

AFGHANISTAN

Dr. Yon Fleerackers who was the team leader of the Darwaz operation WHO conducted in cooperation with Ministry of Health of Afghanistan and FOCUS in Darwaz district of the Afghan Badakhshan province met the UN R/HC Mr. Matthew Kahane in Dushanbe on 23 Jan 2003. According to him, 40,000 children were distributed medicines to contain whooping cough in Darvaz district of Afghanistan. The exact number of death cases (among children) is unknown, but Dr. Fleerackers said it varies between 100 and 400. FOCUS, WHO and OCHA were also involved in the cross-border part of the operation and facilitated transportation of some medicines, supplies and specialists to the villages within Darwaz district that are difficult to access. The specimen of pertussis was brought to Dushanbe through Kalai-Khumb and further sent to WHO, Islamabad.

Building of the second bridge across the Pyanj River has started in Darvaz, GBAO to connect Tajikistan and Afghanistan borders. The construction is conducted under the Agreement between the Aga Khan Development Network and the Governments of both countries. It is planned that the bridge becomes operational around September 2003.

ONGOING ACTIVITIES

Second cycle VGF food distribution has been completed in Asht district. Overall 11704 beneficiaries have been provided with a total of 654.702 MT of different food commodities. A total quantity of 422.911 MT of food commodities was distributed in Darband district under FFAR school renovation and SF (Take-Home Ration) project. A new pipeline with the length of approximately 1,500m has been constructed in Istaravshan district irrigating 30 ha of non-irrigated land. As a result of this project, Crop productivity will increase; hence decrease of farmer's dependence on humanitarian aid. To evaluate the impact of School Feeding activities in Tajikistan, the School Feeding baseline Survey is currently going on in Khatlon region. Despite unfavourable weather conditions in the country, targeted beneficiaries under income generation project in Dangara and Kulyab are currently undergoing training under WFP Food For Training activities in the areas.

FAO Tajikistan have completed the rehabilitation of 6 on-farm pump stations and cleaning about 40 km of drain, collectors and ditches in the villages covered by the irrigation component of the project in Vakhsh, Kabadien and Pyandj districts. The FAO Veterinary Project have conducted a series of meetings of FAO Tajikistan veterinarians in Dushanbe, Tursunzade and Shahrinav. 10 veterinarians from Dushanbe and surrounding villages, 11 from Tursunzade and 14 from Shahrinav have discussed the current situation of the veterinarian project in the line of its achievements and constrains in order to make further steps on programs reform and projects development.

UNHCR started 2003 by signing several new sub-agreements with its Implementing Partners. Under its Assistance to Refugees and Capacity Building Project, UNHCR signed agreements with the NGOs, Development Initiative, RCVC and ACTED, who will provide care and maintenance assistance to refugee vulnerable groups, such as reimbursement of medical costs, cash grants to most needy refugees (female headed households, elderly and disabled). UNHCR through its Implementing Partner "Society and Law" will continue to provide legal advice and information to Afghan refugees and asylum seekers. Moreover, as part of UNHCR's public information strategy, the Refugee Social Center will continue gathering and distributing information to the refugee community on UNHCR's general programs. Awareness will be created among refugees on rights and obligations of refugees, access to assistance programs and legal protection. In addition, through its Implementing Partners, UNHCR will continue seminars and training workshops on human rights for relevant local authorities, judiciary and NGOs involved in refugee related issues.

As a result of fundamental changes in the situation inside Afghanistan, 813 Afghan refugees (as of December 2002) residing mostly in Dushanbe and Khujand have returned to their home country in 2002. In 2003, UNHCR and IOM will continue to provide assistance to Afghan refugees to voluntarily repatriate.

In 2003 the reintegration and durable solutions activities for returning Tajik refugees from other Central Asian countries will continue. The reintegration activities will support the sustainability of return and provide a safety net to the most vulnerable returning to a country where 83% of the population live below poverty line and unemployment stands at over 30%. UNHCR is in the process of signing agreements with UNOPS, FAO, WFP, ACTED, AAH and local NGOs SPD and RCVC under which income-generation and micro-credit activities and assistance to agricultural sectors in returnee impacted areas will be continued. By the end of 2003 UNHCR will phase down its rehabilitation and reintegration activities and hand over these projects to developmental agencies.

UNICEF, government officials, technical groups & NGO partners held a two-day "2003 Work and Financial Plan Workshop for the Country Program" on 23-24 January 2003. This was a follow up on the findings of mid-term review meeting held last November. During these two days of presentations and workshops the outcome of the mid-term review were presented to the participants and on the agreed key priorities. During the workshops participants discussed implementing strategies. The two day meetings aimed to strengthen UNICEF country program cooperation in further improving the social services to be in compliance with two UN conventions on children, particularly in the cooperation with National Committee for Child Protection, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Social Welfare and Ministry of Justice.

On 22 January 2003 a meeting devoted to the UNFPA activity in 2002, as well as new UNFPA Logo presentation took place in UN Common Premises Conference Hall. Representatives of Government, Ministries, Embassies, International Organizations, accredited in Tajikistan, Local and International NGOs, Mass Media participated at the ceremony. In his speech Mr. Matthew Kahane, UNFPA Representative briefed all the participants on UNFPA activities in 2002. Afterwards, handover ceremony of medical, office equipment and medical literature to medical facilities of the Republic took place. Total amount of handover medical, office, computer equipment and medical literature amount to US$ 30,000

In January 2003 the UNFPA group headed by Mr. Matthew Kahane, UNFPA Representative left Dushanbe for Khujand. The medical facilities of the northern Region of the Republic received assistance from the UNFPA through distributing the medical, office and computer equipment. Total amount of distributed equipment is estimated at US$ 51,000. Equipment has been distributed among the following medical facilities: Family-Planning Center, HIV/AIDS-Prevention Center, Center for Medical Statistics and Information, Women Outpatient Clinic # 1,2 in Khujand, as well as Reproductive Health Centers in Isfara, Konibodom, Taboshar, and Shahriston. As Mr. Kahane stressed in his speech the action was aimed at enhancement and strengthening of the health sector in the Sughd Region.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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