The Under Secretary-General, in Tajikistan for a three day visit, was told that the needs of a population still suffering from the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the aftermath of a civil war were high and the country could ill afford any reduction in aid.
It was an argument echoed by Ms Wahlström after she visited some of the programmes run by the Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan. "This corner of the world has been forgotten, " she said. "It's been difficult to maintain continued interest in the plight of the people in Central Asia, but a lot of attention and support is still needed."
The Under Secretary-General met first hand ethnic Tajik refugees from Afghanistan and Turkmenistan who, under Red Crescent programmes, are given shelter, food and a means of earning a living. The Tajik Red Crescent also provides community-based first aid projects aimed at addressing long-term health issues, drug abuse among the young and HIV.
Ms Wahlström ended her tour of Central Asia with a visit to Uzbekistan where the Red Crescent Society has a strong presence but still needs great support. As well as first aid and disaster preparedness programmes, a significant part of the society's activity involves assistance to the people in the Aral Sea zone.
=A91997 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies