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June 21, 10

NEWS / In wake of crisis in Kyrgyzstan, UN agencies boost aid efforts

21 June 2010 Ė United Nations aid agencies and partners are stepping up humanitarian efforts in Kyrgyzstan, where a planeload of emergency supplies arrived today to help some of the 300,000 people displaced by ethnic conflict, and in neighbouring Uzbekistan where thousands of refugees have fled the violence.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said the emergency cargo, which arrived in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, includes food rations for 30,000 people, as well as communications equipment to support the aid response, an armoured car and body armour.

The plane arrived one day after the first UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) cargo plane carrying shelter and non-food relief arrived in Osh. Two more are expected soon. The planes carry initial assistance for some 15,000 people.

Kyrgyz forces began removing barriers yesterday in Osh, which was the focus of much of the violence started on 10 June and where communities have been holed up since.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said there are still reports of obstacles lying the streets which, and humanitarian access to some of the most affected areas in the city, and outside, is limited.

A Government-issued state of emergency in the Osh province districts of Uzgen and Aravan has been extended until Friday.

To navigate the security challenges, UNHCR has been working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other UN partners to store and distribute the aid. Plans are underway to establish a UN logistics at the airport.

UNHCR also announced today that it will establish operations in Osh and nearby Jalalabad region, as soon as security and other clearances are in place. A UN security mission is in Jalalabad today to assess the situation.

In Uzbekistan, at least 12 planes carrying aid, including food, shelter and non-food items, have arrived in the last few days.

In addition, WFP has been transporting food aid, including wheat flour, lentils, oil and salt, from its warehouses in neighbouring Tajikistan and Afghanistan. A planeload with enough rations to feed 75,000 people arrived in the city of Andijan over the weekend, with a second flight is planned on Wednesday.

The WFP, UNHCR and 17 other UN agencies and non-governmental agencies (NGOs) issued a joint flash appeal on Friday for $71 million to assist the persons displaced by the crisis.




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