(PORTLAND, Ore., June 16, 2010) — The worst violence in 20 years in Central Asia’s Kyrgyzstan erupted last week between nationals and ethnic Uzbeks living in Kyrgyzstan. Since then, tens of thousands of Uzbek families have fled to neighboring Uzbekistan, seeking shelter from the violence.
Medical Teams International is providing medical care and food for those on the run – mostly women, children and the elderly. The Portland-based agency sent two Emergency Health Kits to Uzbekistan today to care for refugees. The kits contain enough medicines and supplies to care for 20,000 people for three months and are valued at $842,000.
Medical Teams International also is sending in rice, flour and oil to help meet emergency food needs of these refugees.
Reuters News Service reports: “’Our villages were burned down completely,’ said one refugee. As the violence spread over the weekend, witnesses said gangs armed with automatic rifles, iron bars and machetes had set fire to houses and shot fleeing residents.
“‘It seems indiscriminate killings, including of children, and rapes have been taking place on the basis of ethnicity,’ said Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She urged Kyrgyz authorities to take ’swift and decisive action’ to protect people irrespective of their ethnic origin.”
To help support Medical Teams International as they provide medical and food assistance to refugees of Kyrgyzstan, please log on to www.medicalteams.org or call (800)959-HEAL (4325).
Medical Team International has been working in Uzbekistan since 1997. We have trained more than 7,000 emergency response volunteers who can be called on to help during this crisis if needed.
Interviews are available upon request with Dr Alisher Sharipov, Uzbekistan Country Director for Medical Teams International and Shukhrat S. Arifdjanov, Eurasia Program Manager for Medical Teams International