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Statement by UNICEF’s Executive Director on ongoing situation in southern Kyrgyzstan

NEW YORK, 26 July 2010 - The political situation in southern Kyrgyzstan has calmed down. But life for Kyrgyzstan’s children has not. As their stories vanish from the front page, we risk putting their safety on the back burner.

We cannot allow that to happen for the 100,000 children displaced by violence. We cannot allow that to happen for the 400,000 children who need to start school in September and yet find their schools damaged or destroyed.

Right now, UNICEF has raised about 40 per cent of the approximately $11.8 million these children need. 

To date, UNICEF has airlifted some 200 metric tonnes of UNICEF supplies into the region, provided water and sanitation kits to internally-displaced families and given essential maternal and child health materials to health care facilities.

But winter is coming. Kyrgyzstan’s children desperately need additional support. Unless we take the steps now, the harsh winters common in this region will result in further harm to children, many of whom already suffer from psychological trauma and health problems.

UNICEF and its partners are focusing on establishing child friendly spaces where children from all communities can feel safe and receive assistance and where women can also get psychological support. These spaces can also help provide a range of essential health interventions.

Along with urgent humanitarian assistance and recovery activities, UNICEF is working to help restore trust among different groups and communities. Already, people from different communities have banded together for aid and shelter. Their example can provide a model for broader reconciliation.

We must take the steps that can protect Kyrgyzstan’s children. The time to act is now. If we succeed, we will have not only helped save children’s lives, but helped promote peace in the region.

For further information, please contact:

Christopher de Bono, UNICEF Media, New York, + 1 212 303-7984, cdebono@unicef.org
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Media, New York, + 1 212 326-7426, pmccormick@unicef.org
John Budd, UNICEF Geneva, + 41 22 909-5429, jbudd@unicef.org

 

 
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