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UN: Food Insecurity in Kyrgyzstan to Grow Worse

The United Nations says more than one-quarter of the households in Kyrgyzstan do not have enough food, and that the problem is expected to get worse in the coming months.

That figure represents about 1.5 million people.

The World Food Program said Tuesday it is preparing to bolster its operations in the country, where almost 350,000 others may soon be in need of food.

The U.N. agency said the threat stems from rising foods prices, a poor harvest, the onset of winter and the inter-ethnic violence that ravaged southern Kyrgyzstan in June.

The World Food Program said it conducted an assessment which found that food insecurity was especially high in the cities of Osh and Jalalabad, where the ethnic clashes broke out. The agency warned the situation remains volatile.

Reuters quotes an agriculture ministry official as saying one big problem is that the border with Kazakhstan has been closed since the violence, affecting the ability to trade food and farming supplies.

Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group said in a report that without what it called "prompt, genuine and exhaustive measures," Kyrgyzstan risks another round of violence.

The group urged the international community to press the Kyrgyz government to address the root cause of the violence, including ongoing ethnic tensions.

The fighting took place between ethnic majority Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks. More than 350 people were killed.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.