UNHCR's Kyrgzstan air-lift to start this weekend

Briefing Notes, 18 June 2010

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 18 June 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR's airlift into Kyrgyzstan is scheduled to launch this weekend. Two chartered Ilyushin-76 cargo planes carrying 80 tonnes of relief items are expected to arrive in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh. This initial assistance will help cover the immediate needs of about 15,000 people. The first flight, with 800 tents, is expected to land in Osh on Saturday 19 June, while the second plane carrying other aid from our emergency stockpile in Dubai is expected to be arriving on Sunday 20 June.

The situation in southern Kyrgyzstan remains fragile and tense. There are continued sporadic reports of violence. Access for humanitarian workers to many parts of Osh and southern Kyrgyzstan is extremely difficult and limited. We estimate some 300,000 people are internally displaced in Kyrgyzstan, while an additional 100,000 are estimated to have taken refuge in Uzbekistan.

UNHCR's part of a joint UN humanitarian funding appeal to assist the internally displaced population in Kyrgyzstan, being launched today in New York, amounts to some USD 10 million. The funds will allow UNHCR to cover the needs of some 260,000 internally displaced people who are currently being sheltered by families and host communities for the next three months. Some 40,000 others require immediate shelter. UNHCR has already spent some USD 2.5 million for initial aid to support the airlifts to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. A separate funding appeal is expected to be launched next week for Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile, the sixth relief flight into Uzbekistan is expected to land at Andijan airport later today. This will complete the initial airlift of some 240 tonnes of relief supplies. UNHCR began the airlift to Uzbekistan from its emergency stockpile in Dubai on Wednesday. UNHCR will continue to coordinate closely with the Uzbekistan government and the UN country team to identify and support the needs of the refugee population.