Kyrgyzstan: More assistance needed in flooded south

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

OSH, 7 July (IRIN) - United Nations agencies, including the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) have been providing relief to local residents in the southern Kyrgyzstan district of Nookat affected by recent mudflows. The district is about 60 km southwest of the provincial capital, Osh.

The government has requested that urgent aid be sent to the Nookat district, including blankets, bedding, tents, diesel, fuel, medicine and food to meet its immediate needs after flooding and mudflows destroyed houses, bridges and highways, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

On Thurday, local people could be seen unloading humanitarian supplies in Nookat including food, tents, cooking implements and mattresses. Gapar Osmonov, the local civil defence bureau head, said that more than 100 families in the area had been affected by the recent natural disasters, including 85 families who were hit by the recent flooding.

"The district lacks resources and the aid provided by the UN agencies to the 35 most vulnerable families is in the nick of time," said the official.

Almost 80 villages in the district were affected by floods in mid-June caused by unusually heavy rains. More than 3,500 buildings in the area were damaged and dozens of bridges and parts of roads have been completely destroyed. The total cost of the damage is estimated to be around US $3 million.

According to the Kyrgyz emergency ministry, more than 100 landslides, mudflows and localised floods have hit the south of the country over the past few months. In addition to the emergency in Nookat district, the Bazarkorgon, Suzak and Nooken districts of Jalal-Abad province further north, have been the badly affected areas. Some 560 families had to be resettled from the disaster risk areas.

Crops in Jalal-Abad and Osh provinces have been damaged as a result of the lastest floods. Floods and landslides have already caused damage to crops in the provinces of Chuy, Batken and Osh,in April and May 2005. In all, 2,885 hectares of crops including wheat, cotton, sugar beet, corn, vegetables, tobacco and oil-bearing crops have been completely destroyed. As a consequence of the accumulated damage caused by natural disasters in 2005, Bishkek predicts a shortage of approximately 9,800 mt of wheat.

The Central Asian region is prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes, landslides, floods, avalanches and drought. According to the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), natural disasters have killed about 2,500 people and affected some 5.5 million, almost 10 percent of the total population in the region, over the past decade.


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