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Red Cross: No Quick End to Kyrgyzstan Crisis

  • Lisa Schlein

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it sees no quick end to the crisis in Kyrgyzstan and is launching a preliminary emergency appeal for nearly $10 million to assist 100,000 people affected by the violence.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says its delegates were able to move around, check out the situation, and provide supplies to the hospitals in Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan.

It says the ethnic clashes between the Kyrgyz and Uzbek populations, which erupted five days ago, have spread to the city of Jalal-Abad.

The Head of Red Cross operations for Central Asia and Russia, Pascale Meige Wagner says the situation there is much worse than in Osh. She says Red Cross workers were unable to enter because of shooting and the burning of houses.

"We are far from seeing the end of this crisis," said Pascale Meige Wagner. "We do not know where is the next hot spots. But, even in Osh, the situation is not stable ... People still fear to move. We know about wounded people who are in houses who do not dare to go to health facilities. We also know of medical staff not being safe, moving around, ambulances not being safe in getting the wounded."

The Red Cross reports an estimated 80,000 people have fled into Uzbekistan. There also are reports of another 15,000 people on the Kyrgyz side of the border waiting to cross.

Wagner says there are a number of wounded among the refugees. She says there are worrying stories about people being targeted. She says there appears to be a will to harm and kill people in Kyrgyzstan.

She says the figures circulating about the number of dead are under-represented.

"We are talking about approximately 100 killed in terms of what the authorities have been able to recover," said Wagner. "But, we, ourselves, have seen 100 bodies being buried in a cemetery in Osh, definitely not going to the morgues. So, there is no identification there. You can imagine with the bodies that are still in the streets or in different private houses or that have been burned with the houses when the houses are burning, the figures would go up consistently."

Wagner says the Red Cross will fly food and other aid into Osh on Tuesday. She says regular relief flights will begin Wednesday.