UN activates humanitarian aid to victims in Kyrgyzstan

UN activates humanitarian aid to victims in Kyrgyzstan

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 22 / Trend V.Zhavoronkova /

Despite security concerns in southern Kyrgyzstan which are hampering aid delivery, United Nations agencies are reaching thousands of civilians uprooted by the recent violence with critical relief supplies, the UN reported today.

Government troops trying to clear barricades from the streets in Osh have been met with resistance, she noted, adding that the tense situation is hampering the delivery of humanitarian aid for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which number about 300,000 in Kyrgyzstan.

Elizabeth Byrs of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told reporters in Geneva that the security situation is not totally under control, including in the city of Osh, which was the focus of much of the violence between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks that began on 10 June. The situation in Jalalabad also continues to be tense.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which is coordinating the international health response to the crises in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, noted that there are number of urgent needs in both countries.

"WHO and health partners stress the urgency of providing the necessary health care and support to the communities affected by violence," said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

UNICEF reported that a major concern is the water and sanitation situation in the refugee camps in Uzbekistan, especially dehydration among children. While bottled water is being supplied in the camps, there are already indications that this will be unsustainable and there could be an increase in water-borne communicable diseases.

A convoy carrying 40 tons of UNICEF supplies has arrived in the city of Jalalabad. It will drop some of its cargo there and then continue on to the city of Osh for more aid distribution tomorrow.

UNHCR has so far delivered 240 tons of aid in Uzbekistan, including tents, plastic sheeting, blankets and other basic items, to the refugees, the majority of whom are women, children, and the elderly.

UNHCR noted that some 9,000 people have returned to their homes from Uzbekistan and within Kyrgyzstan.

On Friday the UN called for $71 million to assist hundreds of thousands of people affected by ethnic conflict in Kyrgyzstan, and a similar appeal aimed at helping the refugees in Uzbekistan is expected to be launched later this week.

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