Emerging humanitarian crisis in Kyrgyzstan: US

US has said there is an emerging humanitarian crisis in Central Asian republic.

Washington: Observing that the situation in
Kyrgyzstan is tense especially along the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border,
US which is in touch with several countries in the region
including Russia has said there is an emerging humanitarian
crisis in this Central Asian republic.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia,
Robert Blake who is in the region, spoke with the Interim
President Roza Otunbayeva to get updated on the current
situation there and discussed efforts internationally to
provide assistance to Kyrgyzstan.

Blake will be going to Tashkent today from where he will
then travel down to the Fergana Valley to see firsthand the
current situation involving individuals who have crossed over
the border between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and evaluate
directly the humanitarian situation there.

"We are in consultations with internationally and through
the UN and Red Cross about potential offers of humanitarian
assistance," State Department spokesman, P J Crowley, said.

At the direction of the Secretary of State, Hillary
Clinton, Blake will be in Bishkek on Friday and Saturday for
direct consultations with the Kyrgyz Government.

"Thus so far, we`ve provided just under a million dollars
in humanitarian assistance in the form of medical emergency
supplies, bandages, surgical instruments, and clothing.

We`re prepared to airlift medicines as needed," he said.
"We recognize that with various estimates of up to tens
of thousands of people displaced on both sides of the
Uzbek-Kyrgyzstan border, they`re going to have dramatic
humanitarian needs in the very near term, and we`re in
discussions as to how to best help them meet those needs,"
Crowley said.

The State Department spokesman said there are various
estimates ranging from 80,000 to 200,000 in terms of potential
displaced persons.

"There is, in fact, an emerging humanitarian crisis in
Kyrgyzstan and we are responding and prepared to respond
further to that," he said adding that the US is in touch with
the UN and the International Red Cross in this regard.
"I think we are in touch with authorities there to
determine how best to respond.

We want to make this a coordinated international

And as to what is needed and then what countries are able
to step up and provide the needed assistance, that is exactly
what we`re trying to put in play," he said in response to a

Noting that there has been terrible violence and hundreds
of people have been killed and injured, Crowley said at this
point, there`s a lot of conjecture not only as to what might
have started this, but also whether there are forces within
Kyrgyzstan that are taking advantage of the situation.

"We`re watching it closely. We`re consulting with Kyrgyz
officials. We want to understand what this actually represents
in terms of the immediate challenge that the interim
government faces," he said.

"They`ve got a referendum coming up scheduled for the end
of this month, and we`ll be talking to them about and giving
them some advice in terms of what the best path forward is.

And they`ve got a very difficult, challenging road in
terms of putting in place a new government. So we are
committed to Kyrgyzstan. We want to be supportive, but we want
to do this in the right way," Crowley said.


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