Kyrgyzstan lurching towards `catastrophe`: UNHCR

The crisis in Kyrgyzstan could soon become a "catastrophe" if the international community does not swiftly intervene.

Updated: Jun 16, 2010, 17:16 PM IST

Berlin: The crisis in Kyrgyzstan could soon
become a "catastrophe" if the international community does not
swiftly intervene, the head of the United Nations High
Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said today.

Speaking on German radio during a visit to Berlin,
Antonio Guterres said: "What is happening is already a tragedy
and it could become a catastrophe."

"We urgently need to find a political solution ... the
country`s neighbours and the international community must do
everything in their power to help the interim Kyrgyz
government restore peace and stability," he added.

Uzbek officials have said that over 75,000 people have
fled ethnic fighting between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in
Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan.

Guterres called for international military help, saying
that the Kyrgyz authorities were not in a position to control
the violence. "In such a situation, a international peace
force would be useful."

Earlier, a spokesman for the UNHCR said 200,000 people
had been displaced within the country in addition to the
75,000 who sought safety in Uzbekistan.

A plane carrying the first foreign aid for refugees
arrived earlier today in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan,
local officials said.

PTI