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April 9, 10

NEWS / Kyrgyzstan: UN sends medical supplies to treat victims of clashes in capital

9 April 2010 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is rushing medicines and surgical equipment to help doctors in Kyrgyzstan treat the hundreds of casualties from this week’s deadly clashes that have led to the apparent overthrow of the Central Asian country’s Government.

Antibiotics that could treat up to 1,500 cases of wounds and disease are being sent, as well as medical equipment that includes forceps and stethoscopes, WHO spokesperson Paul Garwood told reporters today at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva.

Mr. Garwood said WHO was working to dispatch additional supplies to meet a request from the Kyrgyz health ministry, which has reported that at least 75 people were killed in this week’s clashes in the capital, Bishkek, and another 500 are being treated at the three major hospitals in the city.

Kyrgyzstan’s opposition has set up an interim government and the President, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, has fled Bishkek after several days of deadly unrest related to protests over a steep rise in the cost of fuel and electricity, according to media reports.

Mr. Garwood said WHO understood that the situation in Bishkek is becoming “a bit more stable,” particularly the state of security and the provision of health care.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has dispatched a special envoy, Ján Kubiš, the Executive Director of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), to Kyrgyzstan to try to help resolve tensions and promote dialogue.

Mr. Kubiš has headed to the country for several says of consultations with key political forces and civil society representatives in Kyrgyzstan, and he is expected to work closely with envoys of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU) and individual countries in the region and elsewhere.

Mr. Ban is continuing to stress the need for an urgent return to constitutional order in Kyrgyzstan, telling the OSCE’s Permanent Council yesterday in Vienna that he remains “deeply concerned about the violence and shocked about the loss of life that occurred in recent days.”

The Secretary-General said a vibrant civil society, political participation, freedom of speech and the rule of law are critical for modernization and social progress in Kyrgyzstan and its Central Asian neighbours.

“The bloodshed in Kyrgyzstan is a deeply troubling reminder of the vital importance of addressing such issues… there are political, economic and social issues underlying the unrest.”




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