Severe food shortage threatens nearly 400,000 people in Tajikistan – UN



September 23, 2009 – Some 390,000 people in Tajikistan, about 9 per cent of the rural population, face severe food shortages due to both chronic vulnerability and the impact of this spring’s floods, the United Nations reported today.

“The economic crisis, resulting in loss of employment and a decrease in remittances, has also hampered households’ access to food,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said following a food security survey conducted by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO).

A good harvest of wheat, vegetables and fruits, and aid from WFP and its partners prevented the situation from deteriorating even further.

The spring floods and mudflows also destroyed or damaged 70 schools, mainly in the southern province of Khatlon, where 3,000 children have been unable to return to their schools. Some 500 of these have been resettled in Khuroson district where they are now enrolled in schools in neighboring villages.

But these schools are far away from the children’s homes and do not have desks, chairs or learning materials for the additional pupils. The newcomers have no proper clothes or school books and are attending classes while standing for up to five hours. The provincial administration has allotted land for a new school, but construction has not yet started due to a lack of resources.