Friday, March 12, 2010

Tajikistan: Boosting resilience to natural disasters

Floods and mud flows have displaced over 15,000 people in Tajikistan

The United Nations is helping Tajikistan, a mountainous country prone to natural disasters, enhance its capacity to withstand catastrophes such as floods, avalanches and earthquakes which often destroy homes in the Central Asian nation.

Through its Disaster Risk Management Programme, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting the country’s Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defence to strengthen its search-and-rescue capacity nation-wide.

New buildings are being erected while existing ones are being rehabilitated, including in the capital, Dushanbe, to provide office space, storage capacity and resting areas for search-and-rescue teams.

Specialists from Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency will train staff in line with international standards.

For its part, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has been given a $1.5 million injection from Japan to strengthen health facilities along Tajikistan’s 1,200-kilometre border with Afghanistan to ensure that they can continue providing health-care services in times of crisis.

Dozens of health-care workers will be trained in risk management and public health in emergencies, while assessments will be carried out to determine the vulnerability of health centres.

More than 1.2 million people in Tajikistan are expected to benefit from this project.

The UN rushed emergency aid to the country in January after an earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale affected some 7,000 people and destroyed more than 100 houses.

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