Cereal import requirement (mainly wheat) for 2001/02 marketing year (July/June) is estimated at 788 000 tonnes. After taking into account a projected commercial import capacity of about 400 000 tonnes and pledged food aid of 76 000 tonnes, the uncovered deficit is estimated at 312 000 tonnes. A food deficit of this magnitude for an impoverished population, if not addressed, would have dire food security consequences. Due to a similar situation last year and lack of alternative sources of income, many households have exhausted their coping strategies and need emergency food assistance. In some areas famine-like conditions persist where people have began searching for food in highly unusual places.
WFP has been providing emergency food assistance to 1.16 million people under vulnerable group feeding (600 000 people) and through food for asset rehabilitation (500 000 people, of which 100 000 directly participating in FFAR projects) programmes since October 2000. From January to October 2001, WFP, together with its Implementing Partners, distributed in total some 56 000 tonnes of mixed food commodities. The current Emergency Operation, which was supposed to end in December, will be extended in time until June 2002 in view of this year's third consecutive drought, affecting some 1 million people in Tajikistan.