UNHCR helps vulnerable people with warm clothes

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 17 Jan 2013 View Original

17 January, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – UNHCR has distributed warm clothing to more than 25,000 vulnerable people from across Kyrgyzstan this season. Almost 30 tons of clothes were distributed to children and adults. State social departments helped UNHCR distribute more than 87,000 items of UNIQLO warm clothes donated by Japan Relief Clothing Centre.

The distribution was organized to provide support for those most at risk who are unable to buy warm clothes, including older people, children, and those with disabilities or chronic illnesses made worse in cold weather.

“The winter is a very critical time of the year for many families,” said Johann Siffointe, UNHCR Representative in Kyrgyzstan. “Poor families in all communities need extra help to go through the forthcoming winter. Clothes not only give warmth but also ensure dignity and protection. We are deeply grateful to UNIQLO for this donation, worth $134,010 USD, which fills an important gap in the humanitarian aid provided to UNHCR's persons of concern.”

From September to December 2012, UNHCR distributed almost 30 tons of clothes through 84 social institutions, hospitals and orphanages in Bishkek, and in Chui, Jalalabad, Osh and Batken provinces. The recipients of UNHCR’s delivery of clothing for humanitarian purposes were evaluated solely based on need and determined in close consultation with government, civil society and the people themselves.

“I have a big family including five grandchildren, one with special needs. My only son died several years ago and this provision of warm clothes is very timely and will help support my family. The children are growing quickly and it is really expensive to buy clothes every season; the younger children wear the clothes of their older brothers and sisters. These clothes will help me keep my family warm,” said Railya Korailieva, a 60-year-old woman who is a citizen of Kyrgyzstan.

Families who have fled conflict in Afghanistan and emergencies in other neighboring countries face different problems in Kyrgyzstan, including difficult weather conditions. Winter is especially severe, with temperatures falling below minus20 degrees Celsius.

Having lost nearly everything, refugee children often feel embarrassed to turn up to school poorly dressed, and sometimes parents feel ashamed to send them in what often is their only set of clothes.

“I have 10 children. The eldest is 16 and the youngest 5 months. And I am the only breadwinner. Earning about $10 per day I can hardly feed my family. I can’t afford to buy clothes. I really appreciate your support. These clothes give my children opportunity to go to school, feel warm, and raise their self-dignity,” said Abdul Malik Mangal Khan, an Afghan refugee.

UNHCR and Ministry of Social Development partners revealed that formerly displaced families, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and socially vulnerable people were still in need of non-food items, and clothing in particular. The Japan Relief Clothing Centre promptly responded to these humanitarian needs by providing in-kind donations of clothing to the UNHCR operation in Kyrgyzstan, with the support of the Japanese Embassy.

In 2010, UNHCR distributed some 155,000 items of UNIQLO clothing, donated by the Japan Relief Clothing Centre, to some 22,000 people affected by June violence and an additional 30,000 clothing items to social institutions. For over 15 years UNHCR has actively cooperated with the Government of Kyrgyzstan assisting refugees, internally displaced persons, stateless people, and socially vulnerable people.

For media queries or to arrange interviews, please contact –Ainagul Abdrakhmanova, UNHCR Assistant PI Officer + 996 775 988 558, abdrakh@unhcr.org