Displacement inside Kyrgyzstan reaches 300,000

Press Releases, 17 June 2010

Some 300,000 people are now estimated to be internally displaced in Kyrgyzstan, according to information from the Kyrgyz Interim Government and non-governmental organizations on the ground. While many among this population are being sheltered by family and host communities, it is also estimated that at least 40,000 people are in need of shelter. The Kyrgyz authorities are trying to restore law and order, and have reported that some 180 people have been killed and a further 1,900 injured.

The situation in Osh and nearby villages appears to be volatile. Sporadic clashes have reportedly taken place around the town of Jalal-Abad and the situation there is tense. Many families have left from Osh and Jalal-Abad to Bishkek and other areas, fearing further violence.

UNHCR and other UN humanitarian agencies currently have no access to southern Kyrgyzstan. Despite this absence UNHCR has made available its stocks of relief items to ICRC for distribution to some 10,000 displaced people in Osh. A UN security assessment in the south is underway today. UNHCR hopes this assessment will allow operations to commence in some areas in Osh.

A UNHCR airlift to Kyrgyzstan is scheduled to begin this weekend. Two planes loaded with 80 tonnes of relief from UNHCR's emergency stockpile in Dubai will bring assistance for 15,000 people. Members of an emergency response team are already in country or en route to Kyrgyzstan. Additional staff are being deployed to help respond to the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Meanwhile, the government of Uzbekistan has been providing assistance and shelter to an estimated 100,000 refugees who have fled spiraling violence in Kyrgyzstan. The influx has been mainly to Andijan province where some 80,000 people have arrived since last Friday. The provinces of Fergana and Namangan host some 8,000 and 3,500 people respectively. Most of the displaced are being accommodated in schools, warehouses and in several sports centres. The freshly arrived refugee population in Uzbekistan is in need of additional humanitarian support including water, food and shelter.

The UNHCR emergency airlift to Uzbekistan that began on Wednesday, continues today (Thursday 17 June) with further flights having landed in Andijan, bringing the total aid delivered so far to 160 tonnes. Another two flights to Andijan are scheduled for tomorrow (Friday 18 June).

UNHCR plans to complete the deployment of its emergency response team in Uzbekistan by Sunday. Some members of the response team are already on the ground.

The total value of UNHCR's humanitarian assistance to both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan amounts so far to over USD 2.5 million.