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UNHCR assisting some 375,000 displaced in southern Kyrgyzstan

Geneva (29 June 2010) -- This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 29 June 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The situation in southern Kyrgyzstan remained relatively calm over the weekend. Humanitarian access to different parts of Osh, Jalalabad and villages in southern parts of the country is gradually improving.    

Large numbers of refugees returning to Kyrgyzstan need humanitarian aid

JALAL-ABAD, Kyrgyzstan, (June 25, 2010) – Amid mass returns from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan, UNHCR field officers have been visiting groups of returning refugees and displaced people near the southern towns of Osh and Jalal-Abad.

According to the Kyrgyz authorities, 70,000 refugees have returned so far. At the same time, internally displaced people (IDPs) are also returning to their places of origin.

Both refugees and IDPs have expressed mixed feelings to UNHCR staff about going home. Although they want to be reunited with their families, many are worried for their safety and about going back to destroyed, damaged or looted homes.   

A son's wedding feast goes to feed hundreds in southern Kyrgyzstan
JALAL-ABAD, Kyrgyzstan, (June 24 2010) – Sixty-year-old grandmother Mavludahon spent months putting aside wheat and other food for her son's wedding in the autumn. But over the past two weeks, she has been using the stockpile to feed hundreds of people who have fled to her village to escape violence in other parts of southern Kyrgyzstan's Jalal-Abad region.

Soon after the violence erupted on June 10, thousands of scared civilians passed through the village on their way to seek shelter in nearby Uzbekistan. An uneasy calm has returned to the south, but Mavludahon still hosts internally displaced people (IDP) in the compound of her family's walled home, though many of the estimated 12,000 IDPs in the area began returning home on Thursday.

UNHCR cautions that returns in Kyrgyzstan must be sustainable

GENEVA, (June 23 2010) – UNHCR urged caution on Wednesday over the returns of refugees and other displaced people to southern Kyrgyzstan following reports that thousands of people were going back to their communities, with some under pressure to do so from local officials.

In a statement released in Geneva, the refugee agency applauded the efforts of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to address the needs of displaced people, but said it was essential that returns were voluntary and on the basis of people being properly informed.   

UNHCR starts aid distribution as number of refugees in Uzbekistan tops 100,000

ANDIJAN, (22 June 2010) – The distribution of UN refugee agency aid is under way in Uzbekistan to tens of thousands of refugees who have fled violence this month in southern areas of neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. The Uzbekistan government believes that more than 100,000 have crossed the border since June 10.

The Uzbek authorities have distributed tonnes of aid since the weekend, including tents, plastic sheeting for shelter, blankets and other relief items. The government is providing medical care and meals to the ethnic Uzbek refugees, some 90 per cent of whom are women and children.

A UNHCR emergency team arrived in the Andijan area last week and has since been visiting sites where the refugees are staying and doing assessments. "We were impressed by the organization and maintenance. All refugees get hot cooked meals three times per day, they get bottled drinking water and water for washing," said a UNHCR official.   

First UNHCR relief flight lands in Osh, helping 15,000 people

20 June 2010 -- The first cargo plane carrying UNHCR shelter and non-food relief arrived in Osh, Kyrgyzstan this morning local time, with a second flight expected within a day.

The two planes are UNHCR's first cargo flights to arrive in Osh since the crisis erupted and are providing 80 tonnes of initial assistance for some 15,000 people. Two hundred and forty tonnes of aid for refugees has already been flown into neighbouring Uzbekistan.    

UNHCR's Kyrgzstan air-lift to start this weekend

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 18 June 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Geneva, (18 June 2010)
--  UNHCR's airlift into Kyrgyzstan is scheduled to launch this weekend. Two chartered Ilyushin-76 cargo planes carrying 80 tonnes of relief items are expected to arrive in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh. This initial assistance will help cover the immediate needs of about 15,000 people. The first flight, with 800 tents, is expected to land in Osh on Saturday 19 June, while the second plane carrying other aid from our emergency stockpile in Dubai is expected to be arriving on Sunday 20 June.

The situation in southern Kyrgyzstan remains fragile and tense. There are continued sporadic reports of violence. Access for humanitarian workers to many parts of Osh and southern Kyrgyzstan is extremely difficult and limited. We estimate some 300,000 people are internally displaced in Kyrgyzstan, while an additional 100,000 are estimated to have taken refuge in Uzbekistan.

Crisis in Kyrgyzstan leaves 300,000 internally displaced

BISHKEK, (17 June 2010) – Violence in southern Kyrgyzstan has forced an estimated 300,000 people to flee their homes and seek shelter elsewhere in the country. This is in addition to some 100,000 people who have fled to neighbouring Uzbekistan since June 10.

Most of the internally displaced are being sheltered by family and host communities, but some 40,000 people are in need of shelter. The figures for internal displacement have been provided by the Kyrgyz Interim Government and non-governmental organizations on the ground.   

UNHCR airlifts first 80 tonnes of aid to Uzbekistan for refugees from Krygyzstan
ANDIJAN, Uzbekistan (16 June 2010) – The UN refugee on Wednesday began airlifting tonnes of aid to Uzbekistan for tens of thousands of people fleeing violence in southern Kyrgyzstan. The first two flights, loaded with humanitarian aid from the agency's central stockpiles in Dubai, have landed at Andijan airport.

The two Ilyushin-76 cargo planes, belonging to Uzbek Air, brought in 800 lightweight tents, plastic sheeting for emergency shelter, blankets and sleeping mats to meet the growing shelter needs of refugees fleeing from Kyrgyzstan. According to Uzbek authorities, more than 75,000 refugees have sought safety in Uzbekistan since last Friday.

In close coordination with Uzbek authorities, UNHCR tents will be rushed to the eastern part of the country to help shelter thousands of people who were forced to leave their homes in Osh and other towns and villages in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Ilyushin flight to start UNHCR aid airlift to Uzbekistan on Wednesday
GENEVA (June 15 2010) – An Ilyushin-76 cargo plane, carrying 40 tonnes of UNHCR relief supplies for refugees fleeing violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, is scheduled to take off from Dubai on Wednesday for Andijan in Uzbekistan.

A further five Ilyushin flights are planned as UNHCR's aid operation gets under way. The Uzbek authorities on Monday accepted a UN refugee agency offer to help them deal with urgent needs of the tens of thousands of displaced civilians from across the border. "UNHCR appreciates Uzbekistan's decision to receive and assist these desperate people," spokesman Andrej Mahecic told journalists in Geneva on Tuesday.   

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