UNICEF working to help quake-affected school children in Tajikistan

17 August 2006

With thousands of children returning to school in Tajikistan in the first week of September as usual, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is working to ensure that those living in areas hit by a recent earthquake will be able to learn despite the devastation wrought by the disaster.

With thousands of children returning to school in Tajikistan in the first week of September as usual, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is working to ensure that those living in areas hit by a recent earthquake will be able to learn despite the devastation wrought by the disaster.

The earthquake that rocked Qumsangir on 29 July left 5,000 children without classrooms, causing severe damage to over a dozen of the area’s 44 schools.

UNICEF stands ready to provide school-in-a-box kits, school desks and chairs for a number of affected schools before school resumes in early September,” said the agency’s Representative, Yukie Mokuo, who visited the affected sites earlier this month along with officials from the Government. The team found that many classrooms are unsafe and will not be ready for the beginning of the school year.

In a news release on Wednesday, the agency warned of the threat of a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases in the area, which relies solely on a damaged irrigation canal as its source of water supply for cooking and drinking. Sanitation conditions are also poor.

Immediately after the earthquake, UNICEF sent initial emergency supplies worth $10,000 containing hygiene kits, water purification tablets, towels, jerry cans and high protein biscuits to the affected areas. Another batch of supplies, mostly hygiene items, will be distributed next week in partnership with international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on health care and hygiene promotion.

UNICEF and its partners have also assessed water and sanitation and are working to ensure their long-term rehabilitation.

The Government of Tajikistan is working to rebuild the damaged schools with support from the Education for All Fast Track Initiative, a global partnership between donor and developing countries to ensure universal primary education by 2015, UNICEF said.

 

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