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DUSHANBE, April 3 (TCA) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the government to start preparing emergency aid for Tajikistan to help tackle the aftermath of an unusually cold and long winter, his web site said on Friday.

The day earlier, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon requested aid at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Putin “pledged that emergency humanitarian assistance will be rendered as soon as possible,” his website said.

“Following the appeal by the President of Tajikistan, Dmitry Medvedev instructed the Government of the Russian Federation to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Tajikistan to overcome the effects of abnormal winter weather conditions,” a statement posted on the Kremlin website reads.

The Russian emergencies ministry said, in its turn, that it had started preparing aid for Tajikistan.

“The task of sending emergencies ministry planes with humanitarian aid to the Republic of Tajikistan is currently being arranged,” the ministry said.

It has been a harsh winter in mountainous Tajikistan, with many reported avalanches in recent weeks cutting off transport and blocking supplies.

The country’s agricultural sector suffered losses of $1.3 million, livestock breeders reported losses of about $905,000. Many roads and bridges were also damaged or destroyed as a result of a long spell of cold weather.

More than 20 states sent humanitarian aid worth over $6 million to Tajikistan in January and February. The largest donors were Egypt (35.3 percent), Russia (over 18 percent), The Netherlands (15.1 percent) and Iran (6.6 percent).

In addition to the problem, Uzbekistan is going cut off gas supplies to Tajikistan on Sunday, while Russia will impose another fuel tariff on gas to the country on the same day.

The aid marks a thaw in relations between Tajikistan and Russia after particularly difficult winter in relations between the two states. Earlier this winter, Tajik prosecutors decided to criminally charge two foreign pilots, a Russian citizen and an Estonian citizen who was ethnically Russian, for entering Tajikistan’s air space illegally.

In retaliation, Russia rounded up dozens of Tajik migrant workers for deportation.

After tussling and conviction, diplomatic solution was reached to release the pilots to Russia and Estonia.

A full third of Tajikistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) comes from remittances sent by migrant workers.

Together with RIA Novosti and Central Asia Newswire

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