Osh (Kyrgyzstan): The United Nations
launched an urgent humanitarian appeal to assist more than one
million people affected by ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan amid
fears Saturday of fresh violence in the volatile south.
A day after Kyrgyzstan`s acting leader Roza Otunbayeva
admitted that the death toll from the clashes between ethnic
Kyrgyz and Uzbeks was probably 2,000 -- 10 times the official
estimate of 192 -- residents of the ravaged southern city of
Osh said fears were high of new unrest.
As a senior US envoy prepared to meet with officials
from Kyrgyzstan`s embattled interim government, US Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton threw her support behind the Kyrgyz
authorities` attempts to restore order and bring in aid.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the UN was launching a USD
71 million humanitarian appeal for Kyrgyzstan and that
a separate appeal for neighbouring Uzbekistan, where tens of
thousands have fled from the violence, would be instigated
Ban cited "shortages of food, water and electricity in
the affected areas, due to looting, lack of supply, and
restrictions on movement" and said hospitals were running low
on medical supplies.
John Holmes, the UN emergency relief coordinator, said
he was shocked by "the extent of the violence and appalled by
the deaths and injuries, widespread arson, sexual violence,
looting of state, commercial and private property and
destruction of infrastructure" in Kyrgyzstan.
Describing the needs as "very great," Holmes urged all
donors and supporters to ensure that the appeal "receives a
generous and rapid response."
The UN`s World Health Organisation said it was working
on a worst-case estimate that the crisis could affect up to
one million people, including 300,000 people displaced in
Kyrgyzstan and 100,000 who have fled to Uzbekistan.
In Osh, residents said they were bracing for new
violence after Otunbayeva promised that makeshift barricades
around Uzbek neighbourhoods would be removed.
Roads leading to most of the city`s Uzbek districts
remained closed off with cut-down trees, burnt-out cars and
"If they come to open the access roads they will shoot
at us again. The army is against us, the state is fighting
against us," said 63-year-old Pulat Shikhanov.
"We are not expecting anything good from this. This
will restart until they`ve chased out all the Uzbeks," said
the head of the local district, Purdubai Barubayev.