Women in a refugee camp on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Thousands remain stranded in camps along the border after fighting broke out across the south of the ex-Soviet state. AFP Photo/Victor Drachev
WFP has distributed food to thousands of people affected by the humanitarian crisis in Kyrgyzstan and over the weekend flew in a first consignment of high energy biscuits to help ease the situation over the border in Uzbekistan.
BISHKEK – WFP has distributed a two-week ration of food to thousands of people in the southern city of Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan and epicentre of the recent fighting, and more food supplies arrived over the weekend.
With the help of local partners, WFP on Friday completed the distribution of 100 metric tons of wheat flour and three metric tons of oil to people trapped in their neighbourhoods by the violence.
“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."
The International Committee of the Red Cross also distributed WFP food on Friday, distributing nearly 40 tons of nutrient-enriched flour -- enough to feed 100,000 people for a day -- and 11 tons of vegetable oil to hospitals and displaced people in camps around Osh.
A special airlift on Sunday brought a 40 metric ton load of high energy biscuits - enough to provide 75,000 people with a daily ration - from the WFP warehouse in Dubai to Andizhan in Uzbekistan. These biscuits, which are light and ready to eat, are ideal for the early days of an emergency.
According to UN figures, some 400,000 people in Kyrgyzstan have fled their homes, around 100,000 of whom crossed the border into neighbouring Uzbekistan in search of refuge.
Transporting aid from the capital, Bishkek, remains 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.
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 people.