Ethnic tensions hindering aid work in Kyrgyzstan: UN

22nd June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Inter-ethnic tensions in southern Kyrgyzstan are hindering the work of humanitarian agencies, the UN said Tuesday, as it stepped up its relief work to 400,000 refugees and displaced in the region.

"The situation remains tense in Kyrgyzstan. Security is still not absolute, notably in Osh, where barricades remain," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"This question of insecurity and tension has made (aid) distributions difficult, humanitarian operations are hindered even though the UN and its partners are increasing the scale of their assistance," she said.

According to the spokeswoman, more than 30 aid planes have arrived in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan since the beginning of ethnic clashes this month in Kyrgyzstan between the Kyrgyz majority and Uzbek minority.

Up to 2,000 people have been killed in the violence, according to Kyrgyz authorities.

Another plane will leave Geneva on Wednesday, said Byrs.

The UN is ensuring that both the Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities are receiving help, said Byrs, noting that aid agencies are facing a problem of winning the confidence of the population.

The World Health Organisation also said that "providing medical aid to Uzbek or Kyrgyz communities along the border with Uzbekistan is a particular challenge."

© 2010 AFP

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