BISHKEK, June 18 2010 - UNICEF warned that lack of access was hampering the delivery of humanitarian relief for the 1.1 million people affected by fighting in southern Kyrgyzstan.
Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF’s Head of Office in Kyrgyzstan said that 40 tonnes of lifesaving water and sanitary supplies would arrive in the capital Bishkek tomorrow.
“However we are concerned that we will be unable to easily and quickly distribute the supplies to the most affected. Security is an issue, particularly as we are transporting valuable material,” he noted.
The situation is exacerbated by criminal activity along roads leading to the south and in Osh and Jalalabad.
“There has been a serious breakdown in infrastructure and security in the south,” Vietch said.
UNICEF’s supplies for Kyrgyzstan include water and sanitation material, and health kits, valued at $1.6 million.
The UNICEF representative called on all parties to cease fighting and to allow humanitarian access.
“More than forty thousand people have been internally displaced and another 260,000 people are living with relatives, some even in barns or facilities for housing animals.”
Conditions in the camps in neighbouring Uzbekistan where refugees who fled the fighting are sheltered are also dire, and adequate supplies of shelter, food, medicines and water are urgently needed.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
John Budd, UNICEF Geneva,
Tel + 41 22 909 5429,
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Media, New York,
Tel + 1 212 326-7426,
UNICEF relief flight to Uzbekistan