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Help Families Braving Extreme Cold in Tajikistan

TAJIKISTAN - Families in some of Tajikistan's most remote areas are braving food, fuel and water shortages triggered by record cold temperatures in the Central Asian nation. Tajikistan is one of the world's poorest countries, and many of its residents — urban and rural — are unable to cope with the effects of this extreme cold snap. Days-long blackouts in cities and towns have chilled residents who rely on electricity to heat their homes, putting the most vulnerable residents — as well as patients at urban hospitals — at risk. And burst pipes and frozen water mains have forced urban dwellers to collect water from unsafe sources. In rural areas, many households are selling off livestock and other prized assets to pay for needed food. More than half of rural households report members in poor health and not enough money to seek medical attention. "With the cost of food at the market skyrocketing, and dairy production hampered by the cold weather, people are forced to rely more on their own stocks. And people in rural Tajikistan depend on food that they've stored from the fall harvest, and many of these stores have been spoiled or damaged by the freeze." Image Above: Extremely dangerous winter weather is gripping much of Asia - knocking out electricity, freezing water mains and further isolating already-remote families. Photo: courtesy of Reuters AlertNet

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