400,000 uprooted by ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has said that 300,000 people had been internally displaced due to ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan while an estimated 100,000 had fled to neighbouring Uzbekistan.Updated: Jun 18, 2010 11:50 IST
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has said that 300,000 people had been internally displaced due to ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan while an estimated 100,000 had fled to neighbouring Uzbekistan.
Most of the internally displaced people have found shelter with families and host communities but some 40,000 people are in need of shelter, according to UNHCR, which also warns that in the town of Osh and nearby villages appears to be volatile.
The situation is also tense around the town of Jalalabad, where sporadic clashes have been reported.
UN Special Advisers have already warned of the possibility of ethnic cleansing with ethnic Uzbeks being the vulnerable group.
"The pattern and scale of the violence, which has resulted in the mass displacement of Uzbeks from South Kyrgyzstan, could amount to ethnic cleansing," UN Special Adviser Edward Luck has said.
The clashes that erupted in Osh and Jalabad regions between ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbek groups on June 10 have so far claimed the lives of hundreds of people and thousands have been injured.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is coordinating with UN personnel on the ground as well as the local authorities, his spokesperson Martin Nesirky said.
"Regardless of responsibility for the violence, the main task is to ensure that all vulnerable people are protected and not placed under further threat," he told reporters, noting that the UN "was trying to get aid into Uzbekistan and also into the southern part of Kyrgyzstan, which remains dangerous."
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 aren't safe.
WFP currently has 3,000 metric tonnes of food, mainly wheat flour and oil, pre-positioned in Kyrgyzstan enough to feed 87,000 people for two months, according to the UN.
First Published: Jun 18, 2010 11:44 IST