UNHCR to deploy team to help thousands of refugees in Uzbekistan

UNHCR prepares to deploy an emergency team and aid to help thousands of refugees who have fled to Uzbekistan to escape conflict in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Refugees, who fled the violence in Kyrgyzstan, wait for their turn to cross the border into Uzbekistan near the village of Jalal-Kuduk on Monday.  © REUTERS/Stringer

GENEVA, June 14 (UNHCR) - UNHCR said Monday it was preparing to deploy an emergency team and aid to Uzbekistan to help thousands of refugees who have fled violent clashes in Osh and other cities in southern Kyrgyzstan.

The Uzbek government says more than 75,000 refugees have arrived from Kyrgyzstan since last Friday.

The UN refugee agency offered its assistance to Uzbek authorities, who are already dealing with needs of the displaced. The government in Tashkent welcomed humanitarian aid from UNHCR on Monday.

"We are very grateful for the willingness of the Uzbek authorities to welcome and receive people fleeing violence in Kyrgyzstan," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "We have agreed with the Uzbek government to support their efforts and assist tens of thousands, mostly women and children, seeking safety in Uzbekistan."

The UNHCR emergency team includes operations and logistics experts as well as field officers. It is scheduled to deploy immediately. UNHCR is also preparing an airlift of aid from its emergency stockpile in Dubai. This will cover the immediate humanitarian needs of some 75,000 people.