Osh: The first foreign aid started to
arrive Wednesday for tens of thousands who fled deadly ethnic
bloodletting in Kyrgyzstan as the full magnitude of the
humanitarian disaster became clear.
With flags at half mast, the shattered country began
three days of national mourning for the nearly 180 killed in
the violence that erupted last week between ethnic Kyrgyz and
Uzbeks in the south of Kyrgyzstan.
Neighbouring Uzbekistan received more than 75,000
refugees from the fighting between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz
but is now only accepting sick and wounded people, leaving
thousands more desperate to flee marooned on the border.
An uneasy calm was pervading today over the southern
Kyrgyz cities of Osh and Jalalabad -- where many areas have
been reduced to ruins by the fighting -- but artillery fire
overnight in Osh underlined the tensions.
Under a scalding heat and with nothing to eat several
hundred people were still waiting at one of the border posts
to Uzbekistan outside Osh. They sought to pass Uzbek border
guards messages to loved ones through the barbed wire.
"We are not receiving aid. We are sleeping in the street
with the children, even in the rain," said Mokhydi, a woman in
her 40s, who fled the Uzbek district of Osh, told an AFP
"We cannot return home. It is too dangerous. Our houses
have been burned down. We have no confidence in the army. Osh
has been transformed into a cemetery," said Gulia, another
woman aged 30.
Authorities in Osh began cleaning up streets hauling away
burnt-out skeletons of cars as basic foodstuffs like
vegetables, butter and bread were being sold from trucks
around the city amid a massive military presence.
Concerned about a shortage of goods and drinking water in
Osh, its residents were queuing up outside the stores which
were also guarded by armed soldiers.
A news agency correspondent in the village of Shark in the Osh
region reported that a whole neighborhood of about 50 houses
had been burned down. On the remaining walls "SOS" had been
painted in various colours.
Davran Badalov, 35, who runs an Uzbek bakery, said the
houses were attacked by a gang shouting "Kyrgyzstan for the
"I don`t know who they were -- there were people in
uniform and civilians. We had nothing but stones to fight them
On the other side of the border in Uzbekistan, the first
foreign aid arrived for the tens of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks
who poured over the border into Uzbekistan in an exodus in the
first days of the fighting.