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UN says 400,000 displaced by Kyrgyzstan violence

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-17

At least 400,000 people have been displaced by the brutal inter-ethnic violence that erupted in Kyrgyzstan last week, with roughly a quarter of that number having fled across the border to neighbouring Uzbekistan, according to the United Nations.

Things are getting worse and worse by the hour. We hear reports of tens of thousands of people fleeing the fighting and looting, and heading towards the Kyrgyz border with Uzbekistan.

Severine Chappaz, deputy head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Kyrgyzstan

AFP - Deadly inter-ethnic clashes that erupted in Kyrgyzstan a week ago have forced at least 400,000 people to flee the country or their homes, the United Nations said Thursday.

"According to the latest estimates of UN agencies, there are at least 400,000 refugees or displaced," UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told AFP.

An estimated 100,000 people had sought refuge in neighbouring Uzbekistan, counting only the adults, she added.

Byrs said the UN's estimates of the number of displaced inside Kyrgyzstan was now "about 300,000 people."

The clashes between Kyrgyzstan's ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities have left at least 191 people dead and nearly 2,000 wounded, according to the government.

The United Nations said 9,000 people had been able to cross the border between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan on Wednesday, as the forntier stayed open despite restrictions announced by local authorituies.

Most of them headed to the eastern Uzbek areas of Andijan, Fergana and Namangan.

"The greatest number of refugees are concentrated in 48 temporary camps in the Andijan region," said Byrs.

UN relief flights carrying 40 tonnes of aid each started arriving in Andijan on Wednesday, with a total six flights due by the end of the week, according to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Kyrgyzstan: Who's to blame?
Relief agencies also sent seven truckloads of emergency health care kits while a Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders - MSF) team was assessing the needs in Uzbekistan.

Red Cross aid also reached Andijan on Wednesday, including 40 tonnes of high energy biscuits.

At least 191 people have been killed and 2,000 wounded in the violence according to the Kyrgyz health ministry.

"The most shocking things are the barbaric acts, rapes, violence against children and defenceless people," said Byrs.

The United Nations is also concerned about displaced people in Kyrgyzstan who are thought to be out of reach of medical care.

Date created : 2010-06-17


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