News / Europe

UN Reports Life in Uzbek Refugee Camps as Miserable

United Nations aid agencies describe conditions for refugees who have fled into Uzbekistan from ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan as appalling.   They say overcrowding and sizzling temperatures are making life miserable for thousands of Uzbek refugees. 

Since ethnic clashes erupted on June 11, more than 30 airplanes loaded with relief supplies have arrived in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.  

And, while these supplies are meeting essential needs, UN aid agencies say life for people on both sides of the border remains difficult and tense.

The UN refugee agency estimates some 100,000 refugees have fled Kyrgyzstan into Uzbekistan.  Most of them are women, children, and the elderly.

Aid arrives


UNHCR spokesman, Adrian Edwards, says the agency has airlifted 240 tons of aid to Uzbekistan, including tents, plastic sheeting, blankets and other basic supplies. 

"The Uzbek authorities tell us there are now more than 50 sites hosting refugees along the border.  From our meetings with refugees so far it is clear that many are still struggling to deal with family separations during the flight from southern Kyrgyzstan.  We spoke to one elderly woman who told us she was returning to Osh to find her daughter and new born grandchild who had been left behind in a building basement in the rush to escape.  We are seeing similar tales," he said. 

The International Committee of the Red Cross reports seeing large numbers of people returning to Jalalabad.  And, the Kyrgyz Frontier Service reports more than 7,500 refugees have returned over the past couple of days.

The UN Children's Fund says a convoy carrying 40 tons of supplies arrived in Osh Tuesday morning, right after delivering relief items in Jalalabad.

UNICEF regional officer, John Budd, says the supplies include obstetric kits, medicine for treating 10,000 children with diarrheal diseases, and water and sanitation gear.  

He says more supplies are being airlifted into Osh on Wednesday and two cargo planes with emergency supplies will arrive in Andijan, Uzbekistan on Wednesday or Thursday.

Overcrowding leads to tension

Budd says tensions are rising in Uzbekistan due to overcrowding in the camps.  He says children are in particular need of protection against dehydration because of the increasing heat.

"We have great concern about water and sanitation in the refugee camps," Budd said. "There is one toilet per 120 people.  Bottled water is currently being provided for drinking in the camps and this is not sustainable.  And, already there are indications that water will be in short supply in the coming days as well as an increased risk of water-born communicable diseases, particularly among babies and children.  Privacy is an issue for breast-feeding women and they need special support for exclusive breast-feeding."  

Budd says UNICEF and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation conducted an assessment last week, which shows the number of drinking water points in the camps needs to be doubled.

He says children between the ages of one and 15 will be vaccinated against measles and rubella.  He says UNICEF has just finished vaccinating 52,000 children against polio.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid