Tajikistan

SUPPORT IS REACHING EARTHQUAKE AFFECTED PEOPLE IN TAJIKISTAN

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(Almaty/New York, 13 January 2010): With the support of the Norwegian government, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has been able to supply the last outstanding humanitarian goods needed in response to the earthquake in Vanj. A flight carrying 100 winter tents, stoves and 600 quilted blankets arrived in Dushanbe today. The relief items are expected to reach the affected area by 14 January. An earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale shook the Central Asian country of Tajikistan on January 2, 2010, affecting some 20 villages in two Jamoats of the Vanj district in Gorno Badakhshan.

The earthquake destroyed more than 140 houses and partially damaged more than 950, affecting approximately 7,000 people. Damage to the power transmission lines and other key infrastructure including health facilities, schools, roads and administrative buildings has been reported. The Government of Tajikistan requested the assistance of the United Nations and of the wider international community to help the affected population with tents, mattresses, blankets, clothes, kitchen sets, hygiene sets, fuel, food, medicines and heaters.

The United Nations Country Team, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and the international community have been effective in meeting urgent needs through the response coordinated by the Rapid Emergency Assessment and Coordination Team (REACT). Through the REACT mechanism, the Committee of Emergency, which is responsible for leading the national response, has been working in close cooperation with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies in providing relief aid to the affected areas.

Earlier 100 winter tents that were pre-positioned in Red Crescent and UN warehouses reached the affected area and were being distributed as of 8 January. In addition, blankets, some basic food items, health kits and water purification tablets have been made available. The assistance provided through UN-OCHA has helped to close the gap between urgent needs and assistance provided.

"We are extremely grateful to the Norwegian Government and other donors for their generous support," said Gabriella Waaijman, Head of the OCHA sub-Office for Central Asia. "On the world scale this emergency may be small and therefore easily overlooked, but for the people affected it is very real and they need all the support they can get." With most of the humanitarian needs met, the Government of Tajikistan appealed to prioritise risk reduction by supporting the reconstruction of seismically resistant houses for the affected population.

For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1347 244 2106, bunker@un.org; Nicholas Reader +1 212 963 4961, mobile +1 646 752 3117,reader@un.org; Elisabeth Byrs OCHA-Geneva,+41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570, byrs@un.org.

OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org or www.reliefweb.int.

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