UNHCR sends aid for 75,000 Kyrgyzstan refugees in Uzbekistan
The UN refugee agency said Monday that it is sending aid to Uzbekistan to help some 75,000 refugees who have arrived in the country after fleeing deadly clashes in Kyrgyzstan.
"UNHCR is preparing to deploy emergency team and aid to Uzbekistan where thousands of refugees have crossed fleeing violent clashes in Osh and other cities in south Kyrgyzstan," said the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in a statement.
Citing Uzbek government figures, the UNHCR said that more than 75,000 refugees have arrived in the country since last Friday.
The agency said it was preparing to airlift relief items from its emergency stocks in Dubai and that it was also deploying immediately experts on operations, field officers and logistics to Uzbekistan.
"We are very grateful for the willingness of the Uzbek authorities to welcome and receive people fleeing violence in Kyrgyzstan," said Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
"We have agreed with the Uzbek government to support their efforts and assist tens of thousands, mostly women and children seeking safety in Uzbekistan."
Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Aripov said earlier Monday that his country has registered 45,000 adult refugees from Kyrgyzstan and needs international humanitarian aid to help cope with them.
Aripov added that the ex-Soviet state was shutting its borders Monday and could accept no more refugees fleeing the clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan which have killed at least 124 people and left 1,685 wounded, according to official figures.
© 2010 AFP