Four months on, UNHCR sees progress in Southern Kyrgyzstan
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 8 October 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Four months on from the violence in southern Kyrgyzstan UNHCR staff there are reporting good progress to date in efforts to help the displaced and returnees.
June's events in the southern cities of Osh and Jalalabad and nearby areas affected around half a million people. Close to 2,000 houses were damaged, and over 1,700 completely destroyed. Some 400,000 people were displaced, including the 75,000 returnees with many losing their personal documents in the process, creating subsequent difficulties for them in resuming a normal life.
After June's violence, UNHCR was given the role of coordinating the Protection and Shelter clusters of the international humanitarian response. Our work has involved the construction of transitional shelters, restoration of personal documentation, protection and community mobilization geared towards securing accommodation for people before winter, as well as ensuring access to basic services. Our teams have also been contributing to confidence building and prevention of future displacement.
With our partners ACTED, the Danish Refugee Council and Save the Children we have been building 1,335 transitional emergency shelters, while ICRC has been building a further 370. As of now, 1,340 foundations have been laid and 841 shelters have had their walls finished or are already covered by roofs. Over a hundred families are expected to move into homes built with UNHCR assistance over the coming week. The worst affected neighborhoods in Osh and Jalalabad appear revitalized with inhabitants constructing transitional shelters on the foundations of their destroyed homes.
Also before the onset of winter, we will be distributing winter clothing and shoes, mattresses, blankets, stoves, kitchen sets and other relief items to thousands of displaced persons, host families as well as other needy persons in Osh and Jalalabad.
To speed the reissuing of lost or damaged personal and property documents, UNHCR has supported the establishment of mobile registration teams to reach people in the worst affected neighborhoods of Osh and Jalalabad. At the same time, we are supporting roving NGO legal clinics that provide free-of-charge legal counseling on land and property issues. During the last three months, some 11,500 people in Osh and Jalalabad regions have benefited from these activities.
With parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan this weekend, UNHCR hopes that the situation will stabilize and that urgent humanitarian assistance and confidence building measures will continue to be delivered to people in need.