Tajik quake victims receive further UN aid as focus moves to reconstruction

13 January 2010

A further relief flight of United Nations aid comprising 100 winter tents, stoves and 600 blankets arrived in Tajikistan today for the victims of an earthquake earlier this month which destroyed over 140 houses and partially damaged more than 950 others, affecting some 7,000 people.

“On the world scale this emergency may be small and therefore easily overlooked, but for the people affected it is very real and they need all the support they can get,” Gabriella Waaijman, the head of the Central Asia sub-office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said on a day when the world’s attention was focused on the massive earthquake that has devastated Haiti.

Today’s consignment is the final batch of humanitarian goods needed for the victims of the quake, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, which shook the Central Asian country on 2 January in the Vanj district of the mountainous Gorno Badakhshan region. Damage to power transmission lines and other key infrastructure including health facilities, schools, roads and administrative buildings has been reported.

The Government has now asked that priority be given to risk reduction by supporting the reconstruction of seismically-resistant houses in the region.

Shortly after the quake, the Government requested help from the UN and the wider international community, including tents, mattresses, blankets, clothes, kitchen sets, hygiene sets, fuel, food, medicines and heaters. A first batch of 100 winter tents that were pre-positioned in Red Crescent and UN warehouses reached the area on 8 January and blankets, basic food, health kits and water purification tablets were also distributed.

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