Tajikistan

Tajikistan Appeal No.01.53/2002 programme update No.02

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This Programme Update is intended for reporting on Annual Appeals.
Appeal Target CHF 8,903,148 (USD 5.6 m / EUR 6.1 m)
Period covered: 15 May - 30 November 2002

"At a Glance"

Appeal coverage: 67.4%
Related Appeals: Europe Central Asia programmes (01.52/2002)

Outstanding needs: While the support to this appeal in 2002 was not as high as hoped, donors are encouraged to focus their support in 2003 on the Federation's 2003 Annual Appeal for Tajikistan (01.86/2003).

Operational Developments:

During the second half of the year, the International Federation and the Red Cross Society of Tajikistan (RCST) continued the implementation of the programmes under Annual Appeal 2002 along with the emergency operations in response to the consequences of the food deficit in the country1. With the completion of the food deficit emergency operation in the North and South of the country in September 2002, the relief activity in these regions will continue under the current and next year Annual Appeals.

A slight economic recovery was noted in Tajikistan in 2002, with GDP increased by 7 % mainly due to the increase of exports. According to FAO, the cereal harvest this year recovered owing to ample precipitation and relatively favourable weather conditions. However, the achieved results could only be sustained if structural reform is accelerated. In October 2002 the Poverty Reduction Strategy of the Government of Tajikistan was finalized with the support of the Word Bank and the United Nations. The RCST took part in the development of the strategy, thereby demonstrating its commitment to contribute to the set objectives through its humanitarian activity.

Disaster Response

Objective 1. To assist approximately 73,000 vulnerable people in the city of Dushanbe by distributing 45,000 rations of wheat flour, vegetable oil and iodized salt over a period of nine months.

As reported in the previous update the complementary food programme funded by ECHO completed in April 2002. The programme extension until June 2002 was granted by ECHO with the purpose to implement the improved post-monitoring of 20% beneficiaries and to distribute additional quantity of wheat flour purchased from the savings incurred during the original procurement. In total 550 tonnes of wheat flour were distributed to 22,000 beneficiaries in June 2002. At this point the programme came to a full stop. The final report was submitted to ECHO in October 2002.

The activities under the new ECHO-funded programme "Supplementary food and food security assistance to the most vulnerable population in Dushanbe and RRS" started after the operational contract with ECHO was signed in June 2002. Beneficiary selection process was conducted in August jointly with heads of mahallas (community level authorities) and social welfare departments. As a result 22,000 beneficiaries in four districts of Dushanbe were selected. 100% review of the lists and pre-distribution monitoring of 20 % of beneficiaries helped to further filter and better address the most vulnerable.

The first distribution round was conducted in October and a total of 537.075 tonnes of wheat flour, 107.415 tonnes of split peas, 42,966 liters of oil and 21.483 tonnes of iodized salt were distributed to 21,483 targeted beneficiaries (97.65%). The second distribution round was planned to be carried out in December.

Objective 2. To support a total of 8,000 beneficiaries in possession of small plots of land with water and to strengthen their self-reliance through the limited provision of wheat seeds and fertilizers for 2002 autumn planting season.

The food security component of the above mentioned ECHO programme implies the provision of vegetable seeds and fertilizers to the households with possession of kitchen gardens in order to reduce the dependency of harvest on the weather conditions and to contribute to the diversification of peoples' diet. In total 151 tonnes of potato and onion seeds and 60 tonnes of fertilizer were distributed to 2,000 household beneficiaries in Gissar and Leninsky districts of RRS. 40 litres of concentrated pesticide procured locally will be distributed in February 2003.

In order to evaluate the impact of the food security component of the previous ECHO-funded programme the harvest assessment was conducted twice: the first in July when 18 households in Gissar and Leninsky districts were monitored and the second in November with a sample of 206 households. The analyses of the monitoring results allow to conclude that in average 2,088.5 kg of wheat per hectare were harvested from irrigated land and 1,148.4 kg of wheat per hectare - from non-irrigated plots of land.

Objective 3. To assist some 6,000 most vulnerable in urban areas throughout the country by providing then with one hot meal.

Following the visit of Swedish Red Cross desk officer the programme was temporary suspended and put under review. After considering the problems and lessons learnt, new project proposal was submitted to the Swedish RC in September 2002. Following the Swedish RC approval of the proposal, 8 soup kitchens started functioning in Dushanbe and in the surrounding districts in November. 7,200 hot meals were served to 1,600 beneficiaries in November. Three other canteens will be reopened in December 2002.

While the public canteens were not functioning the ex-beneficiaries were provided with the corned beef donated in kind by the Finnish Red Cross. In total 22,177 kg of corned beef were distributed to 1,848 beneficiaries within the period from July to October 2002. In July soup kitchen beneficiaries were also provided with 6,280 kg of wheat flour and 277 kg of salt left from the previous ECHO-funded supplementary food programme.

Objective 4. To provide 25,000 school children in GBAO with winter shoes to enable them to attend school during the winter months in 2002-2003.

The distribution of 27,038 shoes purchased from the funds of the Finnish Red Cross was partly carried out in February 2002 and actually finalized in June 2002. The post-monitoring was conducted by the Federation/RCST in conjunction with WFP school-feeding programme in August-September 2002 and the iferior quality of provided shoes was reported.

No other funding was obtained for this objective in 2002.

Objective 5. To improve educational conditions in most vulnerable areas by assisting in carrying out small-scale repairs on 316 schools in GBAO.

The implementation of this component has not been initiated, due to non-availability of funding, in spite of the fact that RCST GBAO branches received a lot of requests from schools which were in need of repair.

Disaster response outside the appeal - Natural Disaster in GBAO.

In response to the landslide, which occurred on 7 August 2002 in Roshtkala district of GBAO causing damages and destruction in the villages Dasht and Langar, the RCST branch in GBAO have provided humanitarian aid to the affected population. In total 150 mattresses, 75 pillows, 75 hygienic kits and 79 sacks of second-hand clothes have been distributed on the disaster site. A first aid point was organized by RCST volunteers in the Dasht village and a team of 25 volunteers was deployed to assist in tracing the lost members of the affected families. According to statistics from Tajik authorities, a total of 24 people were reported dead, 75 houses destroyed and about 501 people left without shelter.

After the affected population had moved to their temporary shelter in Beshkent district of Khatlon region, the assessment team was deployed by the Federation and RCST to survey the resettlement area and to find out immediate and long-term needs of the victims. The acute need for mattresses, kitchenware, clothes and shoes as well as the limited access to health care services and deficiency of safe drinking water was noted. For details about the Federation/RCST actions refer to the information bulletins on the Federation web-site.

Disaster Preparedness

Objective 1. To initially strengthen the capacity of RCST regional disaster preparedness centres, as well as the headquarters in Dushanbe.

The Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan (RCST) with the support of the International Federation has established two Disaster Response Teams in Kulyab and Khorog. These teams of 8-10 volunteers have uniforms and some basic technical equipment. They have received training in Search and Rescue, Sphere and First Aid from the Ministry of Emergency, the RCST and the Federation disaster preparedness delegate.

Two four-wheel drive vehicles with HF/VHF radios were procured for the preparedness centres in Dushanbe and Khujand. Computers were procured for DP centres in Dushanbe, Khujand and Kurgan-Tube. In total 5 HF Codan base stations, 5 VHF base stations and 13 handhelds radios were delivered and are to be distributed in December. Visibility of the RCST has been enhanced by the purchase of 65 bibs with RC logo for disaster response teams.

The replenishment of the DP stocks was under way with the support of Canadian and Norwegian Red Cross Societies and funds available from Humanitarian Crisis Appeal. DP stock purchases and gifts have included tents, kitchen and hygiene sets and mattresses. Purchases have also included some household items and tarpaulins.

Objective 2. To increase the community and RCST capacities to respond appropriately in times of local or national emergencies.

A major development in the preparedness of the RCST was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Emergency in September 2002. The MoU describes the mutual responsibilities of both parties with reference to training and outlines the RCST functions in disaster. This document combined with the results of the annual meeting of disaster managers has clarified goals and needs of the RCST.

Twelve two-day workshops for 367 RCST staff and volunteers have been conducted for an overview of disaster preparedness. One eight-day intensive workshop was held for 16 disaster managers of RCST. This theoretical training is complemented by a series of simulation exercises, three of which have already been conducted. These exercises, conducted with Ministry of Emergency and local authorities' officials present, not only provided a practical venue for training but also assisted in assessing the effectiveness of training in general.

To disseminate the Disaster Preparedness information among the population the RCST has taken advantage of the food relief program and provided the beneficiaries with DP posters and brochures during the food distribution. This campaign has covered approximately 50,000 people.

Objective 3. To reduce the risk of landslides in the most vulnerable mountainous rural areas of Tajikistan through hydro-insulation of irrigation canals, tree-planting campaigns and community training in water management.

Two disaster-prone villages in GBAO were targets for mitigation projects during the reporting period. In Demijona a protective wall was constructed to redirect possible landslides and flood waters away from the village. In Sokhcharv the riverbank has been reinforced and the channel deepened to reduce the chance of flooding and further erosion in the village. These projects will be complemented by a tree planting project in the spring of 2003. The visibility of the Finnish Red Cross as the main donor of this project was enhanced through erection of stands with FRC logo at the selected villages.

For further details please contact: Michaela Told, Phone: 41 22 730 44 24; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email: michaela.told@ifrc.org

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org.

John Horekens
Director
External Relations Division

Lynette Lowndes
Head
Europe Department

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Footnote:

1 For more information on this emergency operation, refer to the operations updates on the appeal 26/01, posted on the Federation's web-site.