UNICEF Kazakhstan Humanitarian Situation Report January 2022 – Kazakhstan

Status update | January 15, 2022

Strong points

  • During the first week of January 2022, public protests sparked by a sharp rise in the price of liquefied petroleum gas quickly escalated to reflect the widely shared grievances of the population as they seek political reform.

  • The protests have involved demonstrations of violence, looting and destruction of infrastructure and have triggered massive crackdown efforts by armed security services to bring the situation under control.

  • UNICEF is supporting local authorities in Almaty with essential supplies, including food and nutrition baskets, hygiene items and school supplies, targeting 500 families with children.

  • UNICEF requires USD 500,000 to ensure the provision and continuity of support services for vulnerable children affected by this situation, which is aggravated by the current COVID-19 crisis, by increasing capacities to respond to emerging needs and strengthen the resilience of communities and systems.

Overview of situation and needs

Major protests broke out on January 2, 2022, spreading rapidly mainly in major cities. Triggered by a sharp increase in the price of liquid gas, they have evolved to reflect a wide range of governance grievances (corruption, inequality, lack of trust in government), manifesting in violence, looting and destruction of infrastructure – including airports, banks – especially in Almaty. Reports say at least two children in Almaty were small during the incident and 7,939 people were arrested, but details on age and gender are not available. Violence in the streets, looting and destruction of shops and public infrastructure and armed repression lead to loss of life and damage to infrastructure estimated at around 87,000,000,000 KZT (201,388,888 USD). At the request of the President of Kazakhstan, Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) – members including Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have deployed troops to support security and containment efforts. The president accepted the government’s resignation and a new interim prime minister was appointed, with the cabinet remaining an interim government until a new government was formed. Banking, airline and commercial activities have been suspended. Communications were heavily affected by the nationwide internet outage. Children were among those affected, facing restrictions on movement, an accumulation of stress and psychosocial needs, and disruption in education.

From January 10, the security situation in Almaty continued to improve, with continued patrols and containment efforts by security forces in parts of the city. Almaty Airport has reopened for domestic and international flights, most commercial services have resumed, and internet connectivity has been restored in Almaty and Nur-Sultan. The night curfew has been lifted in three of Kazakhstan’s 14 administrative regions.

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