UNHCR chief urges continued help for Kyrgyzstan's displaced

Press Releases, 30 June 2010

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres today appealed to the international community not to forget the tens of thousands of people faced with having to rebuild lives and overcome trauma following the violence in mid-June in and around Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Speaking to journalists at a site for returned refugees and other displaced people Guterres spoke of the difficulties for those left homeless or living in fear of further unrest.

"The world was taken by surprise with Kyrgyzstan, we must not be taken by surprise again," said Guterres. "Entire communities here have been left fractured and embittered. Immediate and sustained humanitarian help is needed to avert a dangerous expansion of grievance and loss."

Since mid June, and with some tens of thousands of people having been displaced inside Kyrgyzstan as well as across the border into Uzbekistan, UNHCR has rushed hundreds of tonnes of emergency relief into the two countries in a series of massive air shipments from Dubai.

With refugees having since returned to Kyrgyzstan the focus of help has now shifted to the displaced populations in and around Osh and Jalalabad. On Wednesday in Osh, High Commissioner Guterres received the first convoy of some 20 trucks at the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border carrying UN aid materials back across the border and not needed anymore in Uzbekistan.