Kyrgyz refugees need medical supplies: UN
Around 375,000 people displaced by ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan this month are facing a severe shortage of medical supplies, the UN warned Tuesday.
"Our primary worry is the medical needs of the population. Water and food shortages have decreased," said UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs in a news conference.
Displaced communities had limited means and medical supplies were expensive while pharmacies were either shut or out of stocks, Byrs said.
The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said the number of displaced people stood at around 375,000 after the return of up to 100,000 refugees from neighbouring Uzbekistan last week.
Many of the displaced were unable to return to their homes as they had been destroyed in the violence. In some areas of Osh -- the country's second city and epicentre of the trouble -- up to 95 percent of homes had been burned down, the UNHCR said.
UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres will travel to the Central Asian state on Wednesday and Thursday, and meet with interim President Roza Otunbayeva.
According to the most recent government figures, 294 people were killed in the violence but officials have warned the true death toll could have been as high as 2,000.
Victims have told AFP the violence was an orchestrated campaign by armed Kyrgyz militias targeting Uzbeks, who make up about 14 percent of Kyrgyzstan's population of 5.3 million.
© 2010 AFP