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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs