'Far from seeing end' of Kyrgyzstan crisis: ICRC official

14th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

The crisis in Kyrgyzstan, which has left at least 124 dead in three days, is far from over, an official with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned Monday.

"We're far from seeing the end of this crisis. We don't know where's the next hot spot," said Pascale Meige Wagner, the ICRC's head of operations for Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Amid the violence, some 80,000 people have fled across the border to Uzbekistan, said Wagner, adding that another 15,000 were waiting to cross over.

Wagner pointed out that the situation in the southern Kyrgyz city of Jalalabad had worsened today.

"It was really burning today I would say. Our teams had no access, they had to turn back when they reach quite close as there was heavy shooting around," she said.

"It was absolutely impossible to do anything ... around Jalalabad today," she added.

"We hear extremely worrying stories about people targeted -- there is a will to harm and kill that is going in Kyrgzystan."

Wagner also suggested that the real number of dead and wounded was higher than the toll given by the government.

Some wounded people have been hiding in houses, afraid to seek treatment, while bodies have been seen lying uncollected in the two southern Kyrgyz cities.

"We hear about bodies not being recovered in Osh and Jalalabad. We do believe that once the situation is bit quieter in those two towns, we'll have a better idea of the dimension of this crisis," she said.

"The figures circulating now are certainly under-representing the dimension."

The ICRC said it had sent a planeload of emergency medical supplies and body bags to Osh on Sunday.

Another 12 flights with relief items including surgical materials and household items such as jerrycans, buckets and tarpaulins for 20,000 families, were due to arrive in coming days.

Emergency ICRC experts are also on their way, it said.

The ICRC appealed for 10 million Swiss francs (7.15 million euros, 8.79 million dollars) to help around 100,000 people affected in southern Kyrgyzstan over the next month.

© 2010 AFP

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