Tajikistan food supply looks grave this winter

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Central Asia Online Correspondent


DUSHANBE, Oct. 10 — The UN has issued a new Human Food Security Appeal for Tajikistan to run from October to December 2009 because experts predict that an estimated one-third of the population of Tajikistan will not have an adequate food supply this winter, EurasiaNet reports. U.N. experts have issued this new appeal in an effort to prevent an emergency and send a call to the global community for assistance.

The Tajik government and the United Nations disaster response teams are preparing for the worst as food shortages threaten around 2.2 million of the country’s 6.7 million inhabitants.

Tajik authorities have developed a 64-point programme in an attempt to prevent food shortages like those of last winter, but drought and locust infestation have devastated grain harvests this year, with yields averaging between 30 and 40 percent less than in 2007.

Gabriella Waaijman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told EurasiaNet that millions of Tajiks will confront “increased food insecurity” and an estimated 800,000 people will be at risk of famine this winter.

“The immediate aim of the appeal is to provide a temporary safety net to the most vulnerable poor people in urban and rural areas through the provision of food and cash,” Waaijamn says. The new appeal will attempt to raise emergency assistance of $34.7 million [USD], but as of September, the United Nations has only generated $1.6 million—a slow start given the dire situation.

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