News / Asia

Red Cross: Kyrgyzstan's Medical Needs Mount

International aid agencies say they are rushing supplies to respond to the growing medical needs in the central Asian country of Kyrgyztan, which has been wracked by bloody anti-government protests since Wednesday.  At least 75 people reportedly have been killed and hundreds wounded.

The International Committee of the Red Cross confirms dozens of people have been killed and many more wounded during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek over the past 48 hours.

ICRC spokesman, Simon Schorno, says the agency has 35 staff including 11 expatriates in Bishkek.  He says they were present during the bloody events.

He says looting was reported overnight and the security situation there remains volatile.  But, adds, the overall situation appears to be quieter.

"Yesterday, our delegates supplied first aid materials to the three referral hospitals, the main hospitals in Bishkek where about 500 wounded persons were received in the last 48 hours," he said.  "We will continue this assistance over the coming days.  Today we have a team, a joint ICRC-Kyrgyz Red Crescent team going up to Talas where clashes have also been reported to bring in relief to the main hospital there."

Schorno says the ICRC will fly medical supplies from its logistical base in Peshawar, Pakistan to Bishkek on Saturday.  He says the plane will be carrying special medical kits to treat about 100 war-wounded patients.

He says the ICRC is concerned about the heavy loss of human life and about the large number of people who were wounded during the protests.

"We have called on the authorities and on all involved to show restraint in the use of force," said Schorno.  "But, this being said, yesterday was very difficult to move about in Bishkek and we were unable to really start documenting more protection-related issues, but we will do that in coming days," he added.  

The World Health Organization reports there are not enough surgical materials to cope with the increased number of casualties.  It says WHO will be providing medical equipment, such as forceps, stethoscopes, and infant scales along with other medicines, including antibiotics to treat up to 1500 people.

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