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Updated: June 21, 2010 10:18 IST

UN seeks $ 71 million for Kyrgyzstan victims

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U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon. File photo
U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon. File photo

The United Nations has launched a flash appeal for $ 71 million for much-needed assistance to thousands of people displaced and affected by the ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan.

“I have been shocked by the extent of the violence and appalled by the deaths and injuries, widespread arson, sexual violence, looting of state, commercial and private property and destruction of infrastructure,” said John Holmes, the top UN official for humanitarian affairs.

“I therefore urge all donors and supporters to ensure that this flash appeal for Kyrgyzstan receives a generous and rapid response,” he added.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has determined that 300,000 people are internally displaced due to the ethnic violence, and an estimated 100,000 have fled to neighbouring Uzbekistan since the riots broke out on June 10.

Tens of thousands of Uzbeks, the minority in southern Kyrgyzstan, are reportedly waiting to cross the border, refusing to return to their homes fearing for their lives.

The anti-Uzbek violence in Osh and Jalalabad regions has so far claimed the lives of hundreds of people and thousands have been injured.

Kyrgyzstan President Rosa Otunbayeva put the estimated death toll at 2000.

UN Special Advisers have warned of the possibility of ethnic cleansing with ethnic Uzbeks being the vulnerable group.

“There are shortages of food, water and electricity in the affected areas, due to looting, lack of supply, and restrictions on movement,” said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“Hospitals and other institutions are running low on medical supplies“.

Currently, the World Food Programme (WFP) had distributed food to a group of 13,000 people.

WFP says that transporting aid from the capital, Bishkek, is difficult, as roads are not safe.

WFP currently has 3,000 metric tons of food, mainly wheat flour and oil, pre-positioned in Kyrgyzstan enough to feed 87,000 people for two months, according to the UN.

Mr. Ban’s Special Representative for the region, Miroslav Jenca, noted that there were ongoing consultations with the Kyrgyzstan government on establishing an international presence in the country.

In Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution that called on the Kyrgyzstan government to organise a probe into the violence.

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