© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-1241/Volpe

Brothers stand in the ruins of their fire-gutted home in the southern city of Jalal-Abad. Ethnic tensions remain high since the June 2010 outbreak of violence, exacerbating food and other shortages in Central Asia’s second-poorest country.

Children and women in crisis

In the summer of 2010, ethnic conflict and the subsequent movements of people displaced from their homes jarred the state of Kyrgyzstan, the second poorest country in Central Asia.1 The fragility of the interim government has heightened the atmosphere of imminent violence and tension among those living in the southern part of the country. People are coping with undernutrition and diarrhoeal diseases from poor sanitation created by the political crisis and displacement, along with ongoing energy scarcity, food insecurity and poverty. Currently, 36 per cent of all children in the country live and grow in poverty, with 7 per cent living in extreme poverty.2 During winter the absence of proper heating systems in schools and homes contributes to an increased number of acute respiratory infections and pneumonia in children.

Meeting urgent needs and building resilience in 2011

In 2011, UNICEF will continue to work with the Government of Kyrgyzstan, other UN agencies and NGOs to increase the sustainability of the emergency response and to strengthen the country’s emergency preparedness mechanisms. Part of this work is taking the lead in the WASH and education clusters, and in the nutrition, child protection and gender-based violence sub-clusters. Efforts are designed to improve the welfare of more than 1.3 million women and children.

Humanitarian funding at work: Highlights from 2010

As a result of funding through the UN Flash Appeal launched in June 2010, UNICEF made a significant impact on the welfare of women and children affected by multiple emergencies in Kyrgyzstan. Emergency health and nutrition supplies were provided to hospitals in the city of Osh and in Jalal-Abad Province as well as to temporary health centres and health outreach posts, serving more than a million people. UNICEF provided ‘Sprinkles’ micronutrient powders for home nutritional fortification and UNIMIX special food for undernourished children to 43,000 children. Diarrhoea information and kits benefited 21,000 children, and family water kits were provided to 40,000 children and 10,000 women. A flagship ‘Welcome to School’ initiative provided temporary learning spaces for 2,600 children whose schools were destroyed. Forty-five child-friendly spaces in affected communities provided access to psychosocial services for more than 6,000 children on a daily basis.

Funding requirements for 2011

To make significant strides in stabilizing the welfare of women and children in Kyrgyzstan, particularly their nutritional status, access to safe water, and education and protection, UNICEF is requesting US$6,996,000 to carry out its planned activities.

More information on 2010 results and humanitarian action planned in 2011 can be found at www.unicef.org/hac2011 or the country office website at www.unicef.org/kyrgyzstan.

1 United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2010 – The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to human development, UNDP, New York, 2010, p. 145.
2 Chzhen, Yekaterina,‘Child Poverty in Kyrgyzstan: Analysis of the Household Budget Survey – A report for UNICEF’, Working Paper, no. EC 2410, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York, Heslington, UK, January 2010, p. 3.

UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2011 (in US dollars) Total $6,996,000