UN Inter-Agency Donor Alert for the Drought in Tajikistan (15 Sep 2000 - 31 Jul 2001)

Originally published


15 SEPTEMBER 2000 - 31 JULY 2001



1. Executive Summary
2. Background

  • 2.1 Disaster Proneness and Vulnerability
  • 2.2 The Overall Impact of the Drought in Tajikistan

3. Objective
4. Response to the Drought in Tajikistan
Summary of Project Proposals Submitted for Funding
5. Priority Emergency Needs and Requirements by Sector
  • 5.1 Food Security

    5.1.1 Food assistance
    5.1.2 Agriculture
    i) Provision of seeds and essential inputs
    ii) Rehabilitation of agricultural infrastructure
  • 5.2 Health and Nutrition
  • 5.3 Water and Sanitation and Hygiene
  • 5.4 Education
  • 5.5 Coordination and Monitoring (US$ 60,000)

Annex I. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Annex II. Abbreviations and Acronyms

1. Executive Summary

Tajikistan is experiencing a severe drought--the worst drought to hit the country in 74 years--as a consequence of lack of rain and reduced snowfall last year. Rain-fed wheat crops have failed in most parts of the country resulting in dramatic food shortages. Lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation has led to a sharp increase in water-borne diseases, such as diarrhoea, typhoid and malaria. Obsolete irrigation systems and the overall decline of the agricultural sector contribute to the gravity of the crisis; and will complicate recovery from the drought unless addressed. It is estimated that approximately 3 million people in Tajikistan--nearly half of the population--are affected by the drought, of which WFP considers 1.2 million to be in dire need of food assistance at least until the next harvest in July 2001. FAO estimates that if seeds are not provided immediately, in time for the next planting season in October/November, more cereal deficits can be expected next year.

This Donor Alert was compiled following sectoral assessments undertaken by the government, UN Agencies, and partner NGOs. The Alert requests a total of US$ 76.6 million, representing the most urgent requirements of the drought-affected population. The Alert supplements the United Nations (UN) Inter-agency Consolidated Appeal (CA) for 2000, and seeks to draw special attention to Tajikistan’s drought-related needs, and the UN’s proposed strategy for addressing them. Funding is needed now if a humanitarian catastrophe is to be averted and to mitigate further disaster by ensuring that cereal production is increased next year.

The UN’s strategy for addressing drought-related needs in Tajikistan is threefold. In close collaboration with the Government of Tajikistan, the UN will:

  • provide emergency relief to the most vulnerable drought-affected population, particularly those in need of food, clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, health and education services;
  • continue addressing the underlying economic causes of the drought, in the context of the overall protracted emergency in Tajikistan;
  • undertake efforts to raise the international community’s awareness of the severity of the humanitarian situation in Tajikistan.

Programmes in the Donor Alert cover drought-related emergency food requirements through the July 2001 harvest and health, water and sanitation, hygiene and education needs through the end of 2000. Other non-food drought-related needs, as well as rehabilitation and medium-term development needs will be incorporated into the CAP for 2001, which will be presented to the international donor community in November 2000.

Several UN Agencies in Tajikistan are already drawing on existing programme resources to respond to urgent drought-related needs. However, UN resources and capacities in country are limited owing to chronic under-funding of the UN humanitarian programme. The programme is outlined in the year 2000 CA, and to date has been funded at 37.2%. Many of the programmes in the CA address transitional needs in the food security, health and nutrition, and water and sanitation sectors. Thus, although the programmes outlined in the Donor Alert are a priority and require immediate funding to stave off a widespread humanitarian disaster, support for CA programmes is equally critical to ensure that underlying economic problems are addressed.

2. Background

2.1 Disaster Proneness and Vulnerability

Tajikistan is a land-locked country of which only 7% are arable, the rest being high mountains and arid land. Like many southern Central Asian countries, Tajikistan is prone to earthquakes as it lies in an active seismic belt. The country is also vulnerable to flash floods, mudslides and landslides.

The five-year long civil war (1992 - 1997) and a number of natural disasters during the mid-1990s devastated the country’s already ailing and fragile economy. Tajikistan remains one of the least developed countries in the world and the poorest in the Central Asian region, with some 80% of the population living below the poverty line. Depleted savings, reduced income from remittances, limited assets, and large dependence on agriculture have put many families at critical risk from the consequences of drought, especially given that more than 60% of the Tajik population derives its livelihood from agriculture.

The nutritional status of the population is poor, particularly among children. Malnutrition is especially high among children of farm labourers. According to an Action Against Hunger survey carried out in September-October 1999 in a number of districts now affected by drought, 41% of children were stunted and 17% had acute malnutrition.

2.2 The Overall Impact of the Drought in Tajikistan

Last winter, the country received less than average snowfall and rain, damaging rain-fed crops and reducing irrigated production. The consequences have stretched the population’s already fragile coping mechanisms to the limit. The drought compounds--and is compounded by--a deteriorating socio-economic situation and a lack of employment opportunities, posing serious threat to the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of families. Especially vulnerable are female-headed households, the number of which is increasing due to men migrating in search of employment opportunities. The combination of already poor nutritional status with drought-related diseases threatens to further increase malnutrition and put child survival at high risk.

The drought has affected every region in the country: Khatlon Oblast (Province), Leninabad Oblast, Direct Rule Districts (DRD), and Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) (see WFP map on page 4). Khatlon, with the largest area of land under food crops, has the highest number of people affected (1.3 million), followed by Leninabad Oblast, with 940,000 severely affected.

On 30 May 2000, the President of Tajikistan wrote to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Heads of State of Canada, Japan and the USA, and the President of the Commission of the European Union, requesting assistance to avert the consequences of the drought. Following the Presidential appeal, a joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Tajikistan from 3-23 July. UNICEF led a rapid non-food sector assessment mission to drought-affected areas from 28 July to 2 August, which also included the Ministry of Health, UNOPS, WFP, WHO, and local NGO Ecologia. The rapid assessment was then followed by an in-depth assessment from 13-31 August.

The FAO/WFP mission confirmed that Tajikistan is facing a serious food crisis due to drought. The mission reported that all rain-fed crops and some irrigated crops have failed. The aggregate cereal production in 2000 is estimated at 236,000 metric tonnes (MTs), which is 46% less than in 1999, representing the largest drop in the last three years of declining cereal production. The 2000 production will only be sufficient to meet national requirements for three months. The import requirements for 2000/01 are estimated at 787,000 MTs, of which 74,000 MTs are already pledged by the donor community and 400,000 MTs are expected to be provided through commercial imports. This leaves a shortfall of 313,000 MTs, which if not provided, will result in widespread, serious, nutritional consequences and even loss of life.

The UNICEF led non-food assessment missions reported that the worst affected populations are those living in rain-fed agricultural areas that lack safe drinking water and water for personal and domestic hygiene. UNICEF estimates that only 10-15% of the rural population has access to safe drinking water at all times. As a result, there is deterioration of health and nutrition status; and an escalation of diarrhoeal diseases, including typhoid. During the coming winter months, the combination of poor nutritional status and lack of heating due to shortages of electricity and gas supplies is likely to result in dramatic increases in Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) in children. The drought is beginning to have a catastrophic effect on children’s access to education, particularly girls, due to lack of financial resources for clothing and school supplies as well as increased demands on girls for household chores. Children’s education may be further disrupted by the potential migration of families from areas of the country most severely affected drought to areas where water is more accessible.

3. Objective

The programmes in the Donor Alert focus on the most critical drought-related needs in the country. In close cooperation with the Government, the UN aims to:

  • provide emergency relief to the most vulnerable drought-affected population, particularly those in need of food, clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, health and education services;
  • simultaneously, and resources permitting, strive to address the underlying economic causes of the drought, in the context of the protracted emergency in Tajikistan;
  • undertake efforts to raise the awareness of the international community to the severity of the humanitarian situation in Tajikistan.

Drought-related emergency food and agriculture programmes are outlined in this Donor Alert, and will cover the period from September 2000 through the harvest in July 2001. Emergency non-food programmes related to the drought response are also outlined in this Donor Alert, but will run only through December 2000. Additional non-food programmes related to the drought, as well as medium-term relief and rehabilitation programmes, and transitional assistance needs will be outlined in the CAP for 2001, which will be released in November 2000.

In an effort to increase public awareness of the humanitarian situation in Tajikistan, the UN is organising a media mission to the country on 17-21 September. The Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator will lead the mission, which will include major European, Asian, and American media.

4. Response to the Drought in Tajikistan

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator is facilitating a coordinated response to the drought by the UN Country Team. Working in close collaboration with the Government, the Humanitarian Coordinator is also assisting efforts to mobilise and coordinate assistance from the wider donor community. The UN regularly consults with other partners such as the line ministries in the Government, the Tajik Red Crescent Society, IFRC, and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs).

The response to the drought so far has included:

  • The USA announced a total of 65,000 MTs of food commodities following the Presidential appeal of 30 May. The commodities had been earmarked for ongoing activities and will be distributed by four NGOs operating in Tajikistan.
  • Technical working groups on food, health and water and sanitation requirements have been established by WFP, WHO, and UNICEF to evaluate the situation and present a consolidated picture of food and non-food needs as a result of drought.
  • In July, a food and crops assessment was launched by WFP/FAO. UNICEF also led a rapid inter-agency non-food needs assessment during the same month followed by a more in-depth assessment in August. The findings of the FAO/WFP and UNICEF assessments provide the basis for this Alert.
  • As an immediate response to the drought, FAO is currently providing quality wheat seeds and related inputs to 1,200 drought-affected households for winter wheat planting.
  • WFP, in cooperation with UNHCR, intends to supply 120 MTs of wheat seeds and 180 MTs of fertiliser to 1,200 beneficiaries under its Land Lease programme.
  • In addition, WFP has diverted regular programme resources to address the urgent food needs of the worst affected vulnerable population.
  • As an immediate response, UNICEF has accelerated its ongoing cooperation programme, making US$ 400,000 available for the provision of water purification tablets, water containers, oral rehydration salts (ORS), health kits and medical supplies and school kits to drought-affected areas.
  • An International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) mission conducted an assessment of drought-affected areas from 24 August-8 September. The mission confirmed WFP/FAO findings and proposed a course of action (see Annex I). An IFRC emergency appeal for approximately 16 million CHF is currently being prepared and will be released shortly.
  • Switzerland has announced a pledge of SFr 500,000 (US$ 287,356 @1.74/US$) for the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) to procure seeds.

Summary of Project Proposals
Submitted for Funding
(all figures in US $)
Project Title/Activities
Appealing Agency
Project Location
Total Budget
Food Security - Food Assistance
Food commodities (126,478 MTs)
Countrywide (severe drought -affected districts)
Transportation costs
Cash component to support WFP's direct/indirect costs
Food Security - Agriculture/Essential Inputs
Provision of essential agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilisers, etc.)
Drought-affected districts
Animal health protection and vaccines (anthrax, blood parasites, etc.)
Drought-affected districts
Personnel, equipment, sundries, etc.
Drought-affected Districts
Seeds multiplication and distribution
Drought-affected areas
Food Security - Agriculture/Rehabilitation of Infrastructures
Rehabilitation of irrigation systems
Worst-affected districts
Rehabilitation of irrigation pumping stations
Beshkent, Kalkhozobod
Rehabilitation of an irrigation dam in Kobadion district
Rehabilitation and cleaning of 100-km drainage canals
East Khatlon
Reconstruction and expansion of existing water supply systems in 12 districts in Khatlon
Khatlon Oblast
Micro-irrigation schemes
Drought-affected areas
Health and Nutrition
Coordination and management of emergency health assistance
Support to reproductive health care
Control of communicable diseases (training, drugs, laboratory supplies, etc.)
Support to prevention of acute respiratory infections in children
CDD training, support feeding centres in Khatlon, procure iron pills and ORS
Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI)
Malaria control (treatment, vector control, monitoring, etc.)
Support malaria control activities
Nutrition (strengthening surveillance, education, growth monitoring, etc.)
Support to nutrition surveillance and interventions at community/family level ,(pregnant women and children)
Monitoring and programme support
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Drinking water supply and purification
Public awareness creation on hygiene and sanitation
Capacity building for emergency planning and programming
Support to schools affected by drought
Emergency supplies
Technical and financial assistance
Training and water quality testing
Water and sanitation activities
Drought-affected areas
Monitoring and programme support
Drought-affected areas
School kits
Drought-affected and IDP host communities
Drought-affected and IDP host communities
Winterisation of schools, clothing, heating
Drought-affected and IDP host communities
Empowerment and girls education advocacy
Drought-affected and IDP host communities
Monitoring and programme support
Drought-affected and IPD hot communities
Coordination and Monitoring
Strengthening coordination capacity (professional staff and equipment)

5. Priority Emergency Needs and Requirements by Sector

5.1 Food Security

The FAO/WFP crop assessment mission found that some three million people, out of a total population of 6.1 million, already face severe food shortages. The drought is exacerbating Tajikistan’s cereal production, which has declined steadily over the last three years. This is due to inadequate maintenance of irrigation systems, extremely limited availability of quality seeds and other basic agricultural inputs, lack of adequate veterinary services, scarcity of farming credit, limited access to markets, and slow privatisation of agricultural assets. Livestock productivity has further decreased due to anthrax, foot and mouth disease (FMD) and blood parasites. Rodent proliferation and inadequate sanitary measures related to animal disease represent a public health hazard. There is an urgent need for seeds, fertiliser, tools, veterinary remedies and related items. Continued rehabilitation of the irrigation system is critical for a better harvest next year, and will enable two crops to be grown on irrigated land instead of one on rain-fed land.

WFP and FAO, in close collaboration with partner NGOs and national counterparts, are taking a dual approach to both provide immediate food assistance to those most affected by the drought, and address underlying agricultural development needs to improve the harvest next year.

5.1.1 Food assistance

a. Objective

WFP is preparing an Emergency Operation to assist the Government in addressing the most urgent food needs of the population, and aims to do so with minimum disruption of efforts to move towards recovery food assistance programmes.

The objectives of the Emergency Operation are to:

  • ensure minimum food accessibility for the most severely affected segments of the population;
  • prevent further deterioration of health and nutritional status during the emergency period;
  • prevent further reduction or loss of household productive assets, including those secured through previous food assistance; and
  • contribute to rehabilitation of irrigation systems and the agriculture sector.

WFP plans to target 1.2 million most affected people for nine months, including some 250,000 beneficiaries currently assisted through the relief component of their Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO).

The target group will include:

1. landless rural households;
2. households that lost more than 40% of the crop and own no more than one cow or four sheep/goats; and,
3. rural single (including female-) headed households with insufficient income to feed their family.

b. Implementation strategy

In response to drought-related needs, WFP adjusted its overall food assistance programme in Tajikistan to place more emphasis on relief food distribution. WFP will adopt a three-pronged approach in providing relief food.

  • Food will be pre-positioned and distributed to beneficiaries just before the winter and during spring, so as to ensure access to areas of the country, such as GBAO, that can be difficult to reach. Relief food will be set-aside for vulnerable, non-able bodied members of the community and female-headed households so as to spare limited existing assets.
  • Food for Asset Rehabilitation (FFAR) will be introduced to allow the distribution of large amounts of food in a way that would require members of the community to work for the food received. Through FFAR, WFP will assist in cleaning and rehabilitating irrigation systems, land and other infrastructure with the aim of supporting the agricultural sector and improving the water supply.
  • Small income-generating activities involving women will be initiated and could include poultry raising, bee-keeping, duck raising, vegetable gardening, carpentry and sewing. Of all assets created, at least 50% of the benefits, and potentially more, will accrue to women in the community.

5.1.2 Agriculture

The emergency agricultural assistance programme complements the food distribution programme described above. It is essential to combine emergency food assistance with non-food items (seeds and fertilisers) to ensure cultivation of the next winter/spring crop and prevent a further backslide of the cereal production.

Agriculture is the backbone of the local economy. The level of damage to the water supply systems is almost equally bad in every village and town. Private farmers face poor irrigation and drainage. Leased lands are often marginal and situated in areas where there are no irrigation facilities or where irrigation and drainage systems have collapsed.

The virtual disappearance of agricultural processing industries and the collapse of agricultural services means that employment opportunities for the rural population outside farming are extremely limited. With no available alternatives in other economic sectors and in other parts of the country, rural poverty has become extreme.

i) Provision of seeds and essential inputs

a. Objective

FAO aims to:

  • enhance household food security for the most seriously affected rural households through provision of essential inputs: vegetable, potato and maize seeds, fertiliser, hand tools and related inputs to be distributed to over 20,000 households;
  • improve income generation schemes through marketing of surplus produce and distributing and planting 60,000 fruit tree seedlings;
  • contain the spread of drought-related animal diseases and their occurrence next year, reducing animal disease by at least 50% in 2001 through vaccination;
  • improve public health through rodent control and follow-up to anthrax epidemics (Rodents controlled and animal cemeteries disinfected, sealed and registered).

b. Implementation strategy

In consultation with FAO, WFP has prepared and distributed to donors a project proposal to procure and distribute seeds and other agricultural inputs before the planting season in October/November 2000. FAO is diverting some of its existing resources to procure seeds for the most vulnerable households. WFP, in cooperation with FAO, is seeking partners to ensure that fields are planted with wheat in order to prevent a larger scale of emergency taking place next year.

However, given the constraints in the agricultural sector, and funding limitations, the spring planting in 2001 could be the first opportunity for distribution of seeds, fertiliser and other crop production inputs. Irrigation rehabilitation, and animal and public health-related measures could begin as soon as funding is available.

FAO-Tajikistan will draw upon its team of experienced agronomists and its extensive network of 120 field veterinarians. Beneficiaries will be identified in collaboration with local authorities, WFP, UNHCR and NGOs. Inputs will be procured locally to the extent possible, using a public tender process.

ACTED plans to distribute 1,000 MTs of wheat seed and 2,000 MTs of fertilisers to 10,000 vulnerable families.

c. Requirements for essential agricultural inputs

The total seed requirement for the country is estimated at 66,300 MTs of which 25,000 MTs are available through domestic sources, leaving a shortfall of 41,300 MTs. Pesticides and fungicides are often very limited and expensive. In 1999, pest outbreaks damaged crops in several parts of the country. A total of 131,800 MTs of N2O5, 66,300 MTs of P2O5 and 22,200 MTs of K2O fertilisers are required to support agricultural production during the planting season in 2000/01.

ii) Rehabilitation of agricultural infrastructure

a. Objective

The main objective of this programme is to decrease the immediate and long-term impact of the drought on the population in terms of food security and access to clean drinking water. This will be achieved by enhanced agricultural employment and income-generation and by promoting the production of food and marketable crops through the rehabilitation of irrigation canals, water pumping stations and drinking water systems. The programme will be implemented by UNDP (through its ongoing UNOPS-executed Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development Programme--RRDP) and FAO.

b. Implementation strategy

The RRDP will explore possible linkages with WFP and FAO, such as Food-for-Work (FFW), extension activities and other opportunities. The RRDP sub-offices in Kulyab and Shaartuz districts will be responsible for managing the regional work. The District Development Advisory Committees (DDACs) comprised of representatives of the local government, NGOs, and women, will ensure a broad base of local representation to augment the local government’s ability to prioritise the needs of the area. All sub-contracts will be awarded to local contractors through open and transparent tendering processes.

The current workplan for the RRDP contains water supply projects that are as yet not funded. These cover the major part of Khatlon Region, especially 15 remote districts including Pyanj, Moskovski, Dangara, Muminabad, Khovaling, Baljuvon, where water supply has been a top priority. The number of direct beneficiaries exceeds more than 210,000 inhabitants. Additional 45,000 inhabitants of surrounding villages would indirectly benefit from the sub-projects proposed.

The following projects have been prioritised in response to the drought:

  • Rehabilitation of irrigation pumping stations in Beshkent and Kolkhozobod Districts where inhabitants have obtained land-lease titles. Local committees will appoint operators to charge fees and to maintain pumps;
  • Reconstruction of an irrigation dam in Kabodion District, which will allow the local community to cultivate 1,240 ha land, providing job opportunities, food and income;
  • Rehabilitation and cleaning of 100-km drainage canals network in Eastern Khatlon, which will increase the agricultural productivity of 10,000 ha of leased farmland;
  • Reconstruction and expansion of the existing water supply system, drilling of bore holes and rehabilitation of the water supply tower.

FAO intends to rehabilitate 300 km of irrigation canals and repair 25 urgently needed pumps to improve yields in the long run and reduce the potential impact of future drought. ACTED is planning to extend its small-scale micro-irrigation activities in the drought-affected areas.

5.2 Health and Nutrition

The current drought in Tajikistan has had a devastating effect on health, nutrition, water and the environment. Women and children in the worst affected areas of Khatlon, and Leninabad Oblasts and some pockets of the DRD are especially hard hit and vulnerable to diseases such as typhoid and diarrhoea, thus further impacting on malnutrition and immunity against other diseases.

The nutritional status of families has been seriously compromised as a result of the failure in many areas of the staple food crop (wheat). Seventeen percent of children suffer from acute malnutrition, while stunting in many of the affected areas such as Khatlon Oblast (Shaartuz and Kabodion) is typically over 40%. Anaemia in children, in lactating and pregnant women, and generally in women of childbearing ages, is common and is now increasing rapidly as a result of the prolonged effects of drought. It is estimated that 40-60% of these vulnerable groups is malnourished and the situation is expected to worsen if not addressed immediately.

The immunisation cold-chain is severely affected by electric power cuts due to the drought. The vaccine potency is therefore threatened. This may put already malnourished children at further risk through being vaccinated with impotent vaccines and thus not being fully protected against diseases such as measles. Therefore, the upkeep of the cold-chain and immunisation of children aged 1-14 years in affected districts should be given high priority.

An abrupt increase in infant morbidity (from 1.6 to 12 times) has been observed to varying extents throughout the country. Diarrhoea incidence has increased 1.6 times, and the incidence of typhoid is on the rise in regions affected by the drought as a result of using and consuming unsafe water from irrigation ditches and because of poor sanitation and personal hygiene.

The incidence of anthrax and Brucellosis is much higher than the average in other Central Asian countries. Anthrax outbreaks have become seasonal and usually occur in the period August-November. However, due to the drought, grass in pastures has dried out and soil contaminated with anthrax spores enters the alimentary canals of cattle. Anthrax outbreaks have been reported from some parts of Khatlon Oblast and DRDs. During the first seven months of this year, the incidence of anthrax has increased to 172 cases, compared to 10 cases in the same period in 1999.

Owing to intense malaria control interventions during 1997-99, the reported incidence of malaria has dropped from 29,794 to 13,493 cases. However, unusual climatic conditions during 2000 have created very favourable conditions for malaria transmission, whose season has been prolonged by high temperatures and changes in agricultural habits. As a result, a sharp rise in the number of malaria cases (over 5,000 cases, representing 20% increase compared to last year) has been reported. The situation is also complicated by an increase in the number of Plasmodium falciparum malaria cases - the potentially lethal form of the disease - which now is spreading to other parts of the country. The re-introduction of malaria transmission and a rise in the reported incidence of Plasmodium vivax malaria in the northern part of the country are other aggravating features of the malaria situation in Tajikistan.

The drought has also caused changes in the feeding behaviour of wild animals. Rodents - vectors of a number of communicable diseases (such as, e.g., tularaemia) - have migrated into more highly populated areas, increasing the risk of exposure.

a. Objective

The overall objective of the health and nutrition sector is to assist national and local authorities in the prevention and reduction of mortality and morbidity among the population affected by the drought. This will be achieved by:

  • strengthening the capacity of the health care system to prevent and control water and sanitation related and other communicable diseases caused by the drought;
  • reinforcing control of micro-nutrient deficiencies, food-borne diseases, nutrition education for women and children;
  • strengthening the capacity to prevent and control acute respiratory infections during the winter months, especially among children;
  • reinforcing control of malaria especially amongst children and pregnant women.

b. Implementation strategy

WHO will strengthen the control of communicable diseases by expanding the disease surveillance system and improving the diagnostic capacity of laboratory services, by providing basic equipment and supplies for diagnosis of malaria, diarrhoeal diseases, anthrax, brucellosis and other communicable diseases. Given the scope, complexity and depth of the malaria problem in Tajikistan, WHO will implement an emergency malaria control programme in coordination with other partners, providing necessary drugs and vector control measures such as killing mosquitoes. UNICEF will implement a broad social mobilisation campaign on malaria.

UNICEF is increasing its support for the prevention of malnutrition; prevention and treatment of diarrhoeal diseases and acute respiratory infections in children at the community level; and ensuring that the effectiveness of the cold-chain is maintained at all levels (including the installation and maintenance of generators, where essential). Support to national health structures will be continued through a mass measles immunisation campaign, covering children under 14-years-of-age in the most drought-affected areas, by providing vaccine consumables, such as syringes and needles. UNICEF will also increase support to mother and child health care by ensuring that pregnant women affected by drought have access to obstetric care, immunisation against tetanus, protection against malaria and access to essential drugs. This rapid response will be executed in close collaboration and coordination with other concerned organisations and institutions. The extent and intensity of this response will be contingent upon the timely availability of sufficient human, financial, and supply resources.

WFP, in cooperation with Action Against Hunger, Mission Ost, IFRC and German Agro Action, is currently undertaking a nationwide nutritional survey. Given that stunting has been observed in children, it is vital to assess the extent to which child nutrition is affected by the drought. UNICEF is extending iron supplementation from the present 14 districts of the Khatlon Oblast to the whole of the Oblast.

As part of its food assistance programme, WFP will provide the most vulnerable households with a daily ration consisting of 400 grams of iron fortified wheat flour, 30 grams of pulses and 20 grams of vitamin A fortified vegetable oil. This will help ensure that recipients maintain an adequate energy intake using commodities that are readily acceptable while permitting the operation to be carried out on an extensive scale.

WHO will continue to coordinate health-related humanitarian assistance in the country through organising inter-agency meetings, conducting joint field visits, sharing information, maintaining an electronic information service, and issuing a monthly newsletter in Russian and English. It will continue to provide technical support through monitoring of the proper use of donated medical supplies and equipment, and continuously assessing and monitoring the emerging needs, and the effectiveness of emergency health programmes.

5.3 Water and Sanitation and Hygiene

The current drought in Tajikistan has had serious effects on already damaged water sources and the environment. Women and girls collect water from distant sources that are often contaminated. Sanitation has also been seriously affected. Therefore, water resource management, conservation and upkeep and maintenance of the existing water services and infrastructure are of paramount importance. It is equally important to strengthen national and local health facilities responsible for drinking water quality control and management. Furthermore it is important to create awareness of diarrhoeal disease prevention through the promotion of safe sanitation and hygiene practices.

a. Objective

Programmes in the water and sanitation sector aim to prevent the risk of water-borne diseases, especially to children and women in drought affected areas by:

  • strengthening capacities of the national and regional Sanitary-Epidemiological Centres (SEC) to carry out analysis and support monitoring drinking water quality;
  • improving basic drinking water and sanitation services in targeted institutions and communities most seriously affected by drought;
  • developing and using specific tailor-made educational materials and methodologies to promote safe behavioural practices pertaining to: hygiene for child feeding and care; food and domestic water hygiene; and safe management of excreta and liquid and solid waste; and,
  • strengthening the capacity of local communities and authorities in planning, implementing, conservation and sustaining water, sanitation and hygiene for the drought emergency, as well as for longer-term development interventions.

b. Implementation strategy

UNICEF is accelerating its programme of cooperation with the Government to respond rapidly to the drought. This child-focused rapid response is being executed in close collaboration and coordination with other concerned organisations and institutions, especially WHO. The geographic focus of this response will specifically target vulnerable communities hardest hit by the drought.

The main components of the assistance are to:

  • target the most vulnerable drought-affected children and women;
  • ensure they receive appropriate information and basic training in water purification techniques regarding drinking and domestic water needs and water conservation;
  • create mass awareness of water and sanitation related diseases risks and promote safe and simple strategies for protecting children against diarrhoeal diseases;
  • strengthen the capacity of schools to maintain basic water and sanitation services in schools to prevent outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases among school children and ensure water conservation and hygiene education for judicial use of water and safe behavioural practices; and,
  • provide key health institutions (clinics and health centres) and schools with critical emergency supplies for rapid response to specific outbreaks of diarrhoeal disease.

WHO plans to support the water quality laboratories of the SEC with repair or purchase of necessary equipment and consumables for drinking water control and monitoring. Other activities include the provision of potable field kits for drinking water testing to the SEC and training on water quality analysis, control and management for the health and the water services sectors.

The response will follow basic principles, including:

  • integrated assessment, planning and coordinated implementation to maximise synergies with key sectors such as nutrition, health, food, shelter and education;
  • adaptive programming to respond rapidly to changing needs and priorities over the course of the emergency;
  • periodic/continuous monitoring and surveillance to facilitate informed decision-making;
  • use of appropriate technologies and interventions to address the prevailing socio-cultural and gender needs and the local ecology;
  • local capacity building, including critical levels (sub-national/national), to deliver and sustain emergency water, sanitation and hygiene services;
  • participatory approaches to meet objectives, empower affected populations and promote their role in planning, implementing, managing and monitoring of services and activities;
  • strategic partnerships with Government, partner UN Agencies, NGOs and others to ensure holistic planning, complementarity, coordination and cooperation;
  • linking of emergency planning and implementation to long-term development.

ACTED has been implementing water and sanitation projects aimed at reducing waterborne diseases in rural areas. ACTED will focus on the installation of hand pumps in the most vulnerable areas.

5.4 Education

The already decreasing level of school enrolment is further lowered by the drought as families are lacking financial resources for clothing and school supplies. Additionally, children, especially girls, are needed increasingly to assist families with household duties. The lack of adequate sanitation facilities also has a negative impact on girls’ attendance. Furthermore, during the winter season, many school children do not attend schools due to lack of warm clothing, winter shoes and lack of heating of schools.

These problems are exacerbated by the potential migration of families from areas of the country most severely affected drought to areas where water is more accessible. This is likely to place an additional strain on the schools in host communities. Support is needed to enhance the absorptive capacity of schools to include displaced children.

a. Objective

The overall objective of the emergency education programme is to reduce the rate of school dropouts as a result of the drought and to ensure access to basic education for displaced children, especially girls by:

  • providing educational supplies to primary schools to encourage access for the most vulnerable children, including those displaced by the drought; and,
  • ensuring continuous access to schools by protecting children from winter exposure, including winterisation of schools and provision of winter clothing in drought-affected areas and in the areas hosting displaced population.

b. Implementing strategy

UNICEF is planning to accelerate its existing education programme to expand coverage in the drought-affected areas and areas hosting populations displaced by the drought. These activities are coordinated with the national and local authorities and with the local NGOs. In particular, NGOs will be supported to monitor and advocate for rights of children, access of children to basic education and the importance of girls attending schools.

5.5 Coordination and Monitoring (US$ 60,000)

In order to bolster coordination and information management on the drought and the response, OCHA will strengthen the capacity of the Humanitarian Coordinator’s office with an information/emergency officer who will produce, on a regular basis, humanitarian updates and other public information materials. The OCHA staff member will also assist in monitoring the situation, updating the international community on emerging needs and requirements through monthly updates and other public information materials; enhancing public relations and fund raising efforts, and coordinating assessments of areas affected by the emergency.



On August 24, 2000 a Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT) was dispatched to Tajikistan by the Secretariat of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on request of the Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan (RCST). The team’s terms of reference included:

  • to make an assessment of the needs triggered by the reported, severe drought;
  • to propose a plan of action for an emergency operation in response to these needs, if deemed necessary by the team and the RCST;
  • to provide input for an appeal in support of the above mentioned operation; and
  • to discuss a relief agreement with the RCST with regard to the operation.

After discussions with all relevant ministries, UN Agencies and some of the major INGO’s, the team decided to focus on Khatlon oblast. Two rayons in Leninabad oblast and two in the Rayons of Republican Subordination (RRS) were also included.

The FACT visited 14 rayons and collected information through interviews, direct observation and triangulation. An assessment of the nutritional status of the population was not deemed indicative since it is too soon to feel the full impact of even a total failure of the June-August 2000 wheat harvest. The FACT determined that a prognosis is needed of the impact of the actual harvest on the nutritional status of people by verifying the shortfall in wheat harvest and evaluating the population’s vulnerability level and coping capacities.

The team’s conclusions endorse the findings of the FAO/WFP crop and food supply assessment mission to Tajikistan, which took place from 3-23 July:

  • A severe drought has had a devastating effect on the year 2000 cereals harvest. The yields recorded by FACT confirm the FAO/WFP estimate of approximately 600 Kg/Ha on irrigated land and maximum 150 Kg/Ha on rain-fed land. In general, the total quantity of cereals harvested in all but one rayon visited is less than half of the 1999 harvest, already a very weak harvest in itself.
  • The drought has directly and indirectly affected the majority of the population in the rayons visited by the FACT. The direct impact is that farmers depend mainly on the wheat they cultivate on their rain-fed plots of land to cover a substantial part of their daily food ration. The indirect impact is that cooperatives and kolhozes, also affected by the drought, did not have sufficient resources to pay salaries to their farmers.

The FACT further stresses that:
  • The actual drought was preceded by at least two weak harvests in 1998 and 1999. These weak harvests were less a result of a pronounced drought than of weak quality of seeds, the virtual absence of fertilisers and lack of maintenance of irrigation pumps and systems. They have significantly eroded the coping capacities of a substantial part of the Tajikistan population. In fact, many farmers and many inhabitants of urban centres were already forced last year to sell most of their belongings, including livestock, to overcome the wheat deficit they then already faced. They have very little resources left to sell to cope with the actual deficit, estimated to be at least twice as high as the one they faced in 1999.
  • The FACT witnessed strong examples of abject poverty. The actual drought compounds a pre-existing silent disaster as a result of the economic disruption following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The impact of the actual drought is, however, so vigorous that the drought itself must be qualified as a full-scale disaster.

The FACT hence concludes that an emergency operation will be needed to:

1. distribute 100 kg of wheat and 8 litres of oil per person to 200,000 critically affected people in the Khatlon oblast and to 50,000 in Leninabad oblast;

2. provide 100 kg of seeds, covering 0.5 ha per family for the next harvest to the same groups of beneficiaries, with the exception of the Kulyab city population;

3. implement a community based health programme, focusing on the prevention of waterborne diseases and malaria; and,

4. chlorinate drinking water in places where people depend on shallow wells.

The FACT has proposed to the Secretariat of the IFRC that an appeal for approximately 16 million CHF be launched, for the above-mentioned operation. The Appeal is currently being prepared and will be released shortly.



ACTED Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
ARI Acute Respiratory Infections
CA Consolidated Appeals
CAP Consolidated Appeal Process
DDACs District Development Advisory Committees
DRD Direct Rule Districts
EPI Expanded Programme of Immunisation
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization
FFAR Food for Asset Rehabilitation
FMD Foot and Mouth Disease
GBAO Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast
IFRC International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Km Kilometre
MTs Metric Tonnes
NGOs Non-Governmental Organisations
OCHA Office for the Coordiantion of Humanitarian Affairs
PRRO Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation
SEC Sanitary-Epidemiological Centres
UN United Nations
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund
UNOPS United Nations Office for Project Services
WFP World Food Programme
WHO World Health Organization

Note: The full text of this Donor Alert is also available on-line in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format and may also be downloaded in zipped MS Word format.

in pdf * format (with maps)

in zipped MS Word format (with maps)

* Get the Adobe Acrobat Viewer (free)

Extra printed copies of this appeal are available by writing to:

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Complex Emergency Response Branch (CERB)
Palais des Nations
8-14, ave de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel.: (41 22) 917 1234
Fax: (41 22) 917 0023
E-Mail: ochagva@un.org

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