A shipment of high energy biscuits (HEBs) arrives in Andijian, Uzbekistan for the thousands of refugees who fled across the border from Kyrgyzstan in the wake of inter-ethnic fighting. Copyright:WFP/Yulon Tsilosani
WFP is accelerating the delivery of food assistance for families displaced by violence in Kyrgyzstan. At the same time, the agency is opening a humanitarian hub in the southern city of Osh to act as a staging post, receiving assistance for the whole humanitarian community.
BISHKEK – Food aid to southern Kyrgyzstan had reached over 125,000 people by Wednesday as WFP intensified efforts to assist the victims of the recent conflict.
The latest shipment of aid arrived in the city of Osh on Tuesday with rations sufficient to feed some 30,000 people. The flight also brought in equipment to set up a humanitarian hub for the international relief effort, which logistics personnel say will be up and running by Thursday.
“With a huge number of people displaced by the conflict, and thousands more trapped without food, water or supplies, there’s not a moment to lose,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran, vowing that the flow of humanitarian aid to victims of the conflict would continue throughout the week.
"There's an uneasy quiet over the city.You can see signs of life in the centre, but the damaged and barricadedUzbek neighborhoods seem all but abandoned."
Abeer Etefa, Osh, 23 June
Map of Kyrgyzstan
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The flow of aid
By Wednesday, WFP had distributed over 650 metric tons of wheat flour and oil to some 125,000 people in Kyrgyzstan. It has also airlifted a total of 110 metric tons of high energy biscuits (HEBs), enough to provide a daily ration for over 300,000 refugees along the Kyrgzystan-Uzbekistan border.
HEBs pack all of the calories and nutrients the body needs into a readily consumable snack, making them an ideal source of nourishment in the first stages of crisis.
As for the 100,000 refugees who have crossed the border in Uzbekistan, WFP is gearing up to provide them with over six-months worth of food assistance in addition to the emergency rations already dispersed.
Airlifts have also brought in two armored vehicles and other equipment for the humanitarian hub which WFP is setting up as a staging point for humanitarian relief efforts in the region. Logistics crews working round the clock said the hub would be operational by Thursday.
An unfolding crisis
Hostilities between ethnic Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities in southern Kyrgyzstan have forced over 400,000 people from their homes, 300,000 of whom remain camped along the Kyrgyz side of the border with Uzbekistan.
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.