International Medical Corps has deployed a team to assess and respond to the escalating refugee emergency on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. An estimated 75,000 people from southern Kyrgyzstan have fled to neighboring Uzbekistan, many women and children and many of them wounded. Inside Kyrgyzstan, an estimated 300,000 have been displaced and are seeking refuge and assistance in the border areas.
To support the ongoing humanitarian efforts, International Medical Corps is preparing to mobilize necessary emergency response experts to provide assistance and distribute donated supplies, and is heightening its appeal for funding. “Authorities are struggling to deliver necessary resources to refugees, and urgently need the support of the international community,” said Malika Mirkhanova, International Medical Corps regional coordinator for Central Asia and the Middle East, who is currently leading the International Medical Corps team in Uzbekistan. “Without food, clean water, sanitation and medical supplies, an already overwhelmed population will face food insecurity, dysentery and other waterborne illnesses.”
To date, few UN and international relief agencies have been permitted access to the region, as the border regions remain tense. As agency staff seeking to distribute food rations were shot at by rebel forces, security remains a critical factor in providing necessary relief. While the official death toll stands at 179, with nearly 1,900 wounded, relief workers estimate that thousands of additional refugees will need assistance.