MSF provides care to victims of Kyrgyzstan violence

June 20, 2010

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MSF provides care to victims of Kyrgyzstan violence

A week after massive and violent inter-ethnic clashes erupted in the South of Kyrgyzstan, Médecins Sans Frontières teams are providing medical care and assistance to the victims. The medical humanitarian organization plans to rapidly increase the level of its aid efforts, with more humanitarian workers dispatched to the field and with tons of medical and logistic material for the displaced being flown in from Europe.

Reaching out to victims in Osh and Jalalabad

“Our medical teams based in the cities of Osh and Jalalabad report there is still a high level of tension there, and huge humanitarian needs”, says Alexandre Baillat, MSF’s Head of Mission in Kyrgyzstan. “On Wednesday, for instance, our Jalalabad team provided medical care to 40 wounded people stranded in one of the town’s districts.

The main city hospitals are well functioning, but peripheral health structures need some support. Some dressing materials, drugs and medical items were delivered by MSF to the main regional hospital and drugs and first aid kits were donated to Jalal-Abad’s Family Medicine Centre. “We are also concentrating our efforts on reaching out to communities in the city that are without access to health care or living in dire conditions after they had to flee their home. Many of the wounded are afraid to move around or to go to a clinic”, Baillat says.

On Friday 18 June, a MSF team also accessed a village near the Uzbek border where 8000 people have sought refuge. The teams report that these people “need almost everything, blankets, buckets, cooking sets, tents…” On Saturday 19, a MSF truck will go from the capital city Bishkek to Jalal-Abad with some of these goods for 500 families, as well as hygiene and medical items. Tomorrow MSF plans to reach another village where 6000 displaced people are said to have settled. A majority of them are reported to be children and women.

Care for refugees in Uzbekistan

In addition to tens of thousands of families displaced outside Osh and Jalalabad, at least 75’000 have sought refuge on the other side of the border, in Uzbekistan. The MSF team is based in the region of Andijan, where many of them have temporarily settled in camps set up by the local authorities.

“The wounded are given proper medical care by local doctors, but there is a strong need for psychological support as a lot of the refugees have either experienced or witnessed acts of violence. The refugees experienced targeted killings, violence against their family members and targeted destruction of their houses. The authorities have deployed five mobile groups of psychologists/counsellors and an MSF mental health specialist has started training this staff in the management of post traumatic stress”, says Alex Telnov, MSF’s medical coordinator in Uzbekistan.

Along with other international organizations MSF is participating in assessing the needs of the population in Uzbekistan. MSF has distributed two truck loads containing mattresses, sheets, blankets, and hygiene utensils arrived in Andijan. MSF will dispatch more trucks to meet the needs of the people who have not received any help yet. Other trucks with material will follow. A team of water and sanitation expats will arrive next week to assist the government within refugee camps.

Human Resources and Material on their way from Europe

Médecins Sans Frontières is mobilizing its resources to respond to this crisis, in a country where it has worked since 2006, running a tuberculosis program in the Kyrgyz penitentiary system. In addition to MSF’s staff already present in the country, more than 15 humanitarian workers are being flown in the country this week, including coordinators, surgeons, nurses, water and sanitation specialists and logisticians. A full charter plane is also expected to be flying from Vatry, France, to Osh, on Saturday 19. The plane will carry about 30 tons of medical and surgical material, drugs, water/sanitation and shelter material, as well as an MSF ambulance.

Médecins Sans Frontières has been running a tuberculosis programme in the Kyrgyz penitentiary system since 2006.

In Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic within Uzbekistan, MSF is treating patients with drug resistant forms of tuberculosis in Nukus and Chimbay and has recently expanded activities into Karauziak and Tahtakupir districts. MSF has been working in Uzbekistan since 1997.

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