BISHKEK – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched an emergency operation to provide logistics and feed civilians caught in the humanitarian crisis in Kyrgyzstan, while calling on all sides to allow the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian supplies, particularly in the country’s second city, Osh.
“This crisis is unfolding rapidly and WFP is mobilizing its global expertise to ensure that the vulnerable -- particularly women and children -- do not suffer,” said WFP’s Executive Director Josette Sheeran. “We implore all sides to ensure humanitarian access to the vulnerable, trapped by the crisis,” she said.
WFP has begun working with local authorities to distribute food in Osh, where shops are reported to be running out of supplies and people have arrived at a WFP warehouse asking for food.
Transporting aid from the capital, Bishkek, is difficult, as roads are not safe and commercial trucking companies are reluctant to risk their vehicles.
WFP currently has 3,000 metric tons of food -- mainly wheat flour and oil-- pre-positioned in Kyrgyzstan. This is enough to feed 87,000 people for two months and WFP stands ready to assist those in need as long as safe and unimpeded access is available.
Already an estimated 70,000 civilians, mainly women and children, have sought refuge across the border in neighbouring Uzbekistan, and WFP is positioning itself to operate in both countries if needed. WFP’s UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi, Italy, is on standby to provide emergency supplies and logistics support. WFP is leading the coordination of the logistics and IT support for the whole humanitarian community.
WFP has been working in Kyrgyzstan since 2008, helping the most vulnerable families survive the harsh winter months. In 2009 the agency distributed food commodities to 264,000 persons.
For further information:
Jennifer Parmelee, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149, Cell. +1-202-4223383
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-5566909, Cell. +1-646-8241112