DUSHANBE, August 27, 2009, Asia-Plus  - Many of residents of Khatlon’s Khuroson district that were hit by heavy rains and mudflows in April and May this year remain without adequate shelter, according to the United Nations Development Program Rapid Emergency Assessment and Coordination Team (UNDP REACT).

We will recall that heavy rains and mudflows in April 2009 affected the villages of 18th Partseyzdi Bolo, 18th Partseyzdi Poyon, and Halkajar, in the Ayni jamoat of the Khuroson district.  Many residential buildings were completely destroyed or partially damaged by mud.  1,500 people, from 114 families in all villages have been affected by the mudflows.  In May the heavy rains affected 153 houses (88 –fully, 62 – partly) in the Khuroson district.  The disaster-hit families were temporarily housed in tent camps.

Since then, the Government of Tajikistan, in cooperation with the private sector, has built around 150 houses in the newly created settlements of Oftobak and Shohrukh.  Building materials were provided to the other families whose houses were destroyed, according to the REACT News Bulletin No 2, August 12-26, 2009.

REACT developed a shelter sector strategy and project. The project, led by Caritas Switzerland, aims at building earthquake-resistant and energy-efficient houses for the remaining families.  A consultant made the designs for the houses and developed a plan for the implementation of the project, the cost of which is estimated at just over $ 2 million.  However, until now, the project is largely unfunded.

The news bulletin says more than 2,000 people in over 300 families in Khuroson remain without adequate.  They are still living in tents, or depend on the hospitality of relatives in already crowded dwellings. With winter in sight, some of them are attempting to rehabilitate their destroyed houses, in spite of them being in an unsafe location and judged beyond repair by the authorities.  Others are scrambling to use the materials donated by Government for construction.

During recent visits by government officials and the humanitarian community, the homeless families appealed for urgent assistance ahead of winter, when temperatures can fall to -25°C.

Rapid Emergency Assessment and Coordination Team (REACT) was established in 2001 to promote the sharing of information, logistics and other resources between partners active in the disaster management sector, including the Committee of Emergency Situations and the Government of Tajikistan.  The group that involves over 50 state, local and international organizations and entities meets regularly to coordinate and share experiences on issues related to various areas of disaster management, including preparedness, response, mitigation and capacity building activities with national bodies.  During emergency situations the partnership works closely together, coordinating response and assistance.