Confirmation of a worsening nutritional crisis in Tajikistan

News and Press Release
Originally published
Action Against Hunger - Special Dossier
Release of the National Nutrition Survey October/November 2001*

National Nutrition Survey confirms the numerous alerts given by Action Against Hunger and other organizations over the past months on the gravity of the humanitarian crisis in Tajikistan

The survey was carried out just before winter in rural and peri-urban areas of the four most populated regions of Tajikistan (West and East Khatlon, RRS region and Sughd region) where more than 80% of the population live. It shows a serious deterioration of the acute nutritional status of children under 5 and their care-givers with no improvement since surveys conducted in 1999 and 2000.

The rates of malnutrition in all regions, amongst both children under 5 and their care-givers (particularly pregnant and lactating women) show a worrying nutritional situation. In some areas, more than 43% of children are suffering from global chronic malnutrition, up to 20% from moderate acute malnutrition and up to 5.6% from severe acute malnutrition. On average, 10% of care-givers are suffering from acute malnutrition. These figures reach alarming proportions amongst lactating and pregnant women.

The two consecutive years of drought have drastically affected Tajikistan, further aggravating the already precarious situation of the 6 million inhabitants. The last 10 years have already been catastrophic for a population that has survived a terrible civil war and years of deprivation. The public health and education systems have severely deteriorated and the water system is in a terrible state of disrepair. The poorest in the population have very limited access to health care or safe drinking water. Many are suffering from diarrhea and water borne diseases. These factors, combined with a shortage of food, a poor harvest and an extremely difficult economic situation, give few prospects for an immediate improvement in the situation without external assistance.

The international organization Action Against Hunger is reinforcing its assistance in Tajikistan while continuing its emergency relief operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

While Afghanistan is the main focus of international attention in Central Asia, Tajikistan's population also needs immediate help and long-term assistance to lift themselves out of the vicious cycle of malnutrition.

*The National Nutrition Survey was instigated and designed by Care International Tajikistan. Action Against Hunger was the coordinating agency and assisted in training, implementation, analysis and interpretation of results, and dissemination of the conclusions and recommendations of the survey. The data collection was conducted by 10 collaborating agencies.

Press contact:

Inky Song/ Shirley Eng
Tel: 212.967.7800
Action Against Hunger
875 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 1905
New York, NY 10001