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Kyrgyzstan government must guarantee safe transport of humanitarian aid

Hundreds of thousands remain in desperate need of humanitarian assistance one week on from the start of the fighting in southern Kyrgyzstan, say aid agencies.

In a statement released today the ACT Alliance, an international network of faith-based organisations including Christian Aid, is calling on the provisional government to guarantee the safe transportation of much-needed food aid to avert a further worsening of the humanitarian crisis.  This call is supported by an internal network of local partners working in Kyrgyzstan.

Ray Hasan, Christian Aid’s Head of Region for Central Asia said: ‘We are losing time, people are dying, we need to find a way to distribute aid as soon as possible.  We are very concerned that the situation is getting worse for those most vulnerable.’

The UN reports that 400,000 people have been uprooted by the violence in which more than 170 people died and 1,700 injured. Many of them are women and children. There is now an urgent need for food, water, medical assistance and shelter.

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed leaving thousands living in makeshift conditions.  Human rights workers have said that Uzbek communities in the worse-affected cities are too traumatised to accept medical aid from Kyrgyz health workers.

Tatiana Kotova, Regional Manager of Dan Church Aid (DCA), another member of the ACT Alliance said: ‘Many people haven’t eaten for days, with women and children suffering the most. They are in desperate need of international assistance.’

Pepijn Trapman, Regional Manager of ICCO and Kerk in Actie, a Dutch member of the ACT Alliance said: ‘Those affected by the crisis think that the interim government has not been objective and the distribution of humanitarian aid by the authorities has not been impartial; nor has it been effectively coordinated. The majority of the population affected by the crisis has not been reached.  The government needs to guarantee safe transportation and impartial distribution of aid’

John Nduna, ACT Alliance General Secretary said:  ‘DanChurch, Christian Aid and ICCO and Kerk in Actie have a wide network of local partner organisations who have been able to distribute some aid, but many are running short of basic supplies such as food, water and shelter’, ‘The priority must be to save lives and protect people affected by the crisis.’

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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Johanna Rogers on T: +44 207 523 2460 and jrogers@christian-aid.org  

Notes to Editors:  
1. The statement is being sent to the Kyrgyzstan Government, EU and UN.
2. Christian Aid, ICCO and Kerk in Actie, Dan Church Aid and are all members of the ACT Alliance.
3. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.
4. Poverty is an outrage against humanity. It robs people of dignity, freedom and hope, of power over their own lives. Christian Aid has a vision – an end to poverty – and we believe that vision can become a reality. We urge you to join us. 
5. Christian Aid has a vision – an end to poverty – and we believe that vision can become a reality. We work with the world’s poorest people in around 50 countries, regardless of race or faith. We are part of ACT Alliance, the ecumenical relief and development network.
6. The Christian Aid name and logo are trademarks of Christian Aid. Poverty Over is a trademark of Christian Aid.