European Commission allocates €35,959 to help people affected by floods in Tajikistan (20/05/2014)

Dushanbe, 20 May 2014 – In mid-April, heavy rainfall led to massive flooding and triggered landslides in many parts of southern Tajikistan, killing over a dozen people and affecting thousands. Almost one hundred hectares of crops were destroyed, livestock was lost and several houses were damaged in Khatlon province, forcing people to seek refuge in temporary camps. With water points and latrines buried under piles of debris, people are in urgent need of safe drinking water and sanitation services. Families also require cooking utensils, mattresses and hygiene kits.

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is contributing to the disaster relief emergency fund of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, following a funding appeal by the organisation to provide immediate assistance. This was based on a thorough needs assessment, which was conducted in coordination with government agencies responsible for emergency response.

The funds, channelled through the Tajikistan Red Crescent Society, will ensure that victims have access to water and sanitation services. Additionally, almost 200 vulnerable families, including female-headed households, will receive bedding materials, hygiene kits and cooking utensils. To curb the spread of water-borne diseases, common in the aftermath of floods, sessions on safe hygiene practices will also be organised.

Tajikistan is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, floods and landslides being an almost annual occurrence. The European Commission, through its disaster preparedness programme, DIPECHO, has been working in Tajikistan for over a decade to strengthen the disaster management capacities of hazard-prone communities. Earlier, ECHO also provided humanitarian assistance to people affected by the country’s civil war in the 1990s, and food assistance after the harsh winter in 2012 The European Commission’s total humanitarian funding to Tajikistan since 1993 amounts to almost €180 million.

Background

For 2014, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has signed a €3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.

The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and the European Commission enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations.