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Kyrgyzstan Flash Appeal 2010
On 10 June 2010, a major outbreak of violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan triggered a severe humanitarian crisis, affecting 1 140 200 people. In just three days, the bloodshed, looting and destruction spread from Osh – the epicentre of the conflict – to the city of Jalal-Abat and neighbouring districts, also home to a significant Uzbek minority.
Social tensions and political instability began to intensify in April, when violent demonstrations led to 84 deaths and the deposition of Kyrgyzstan’s ruling party, followed by the establishment of an Interim Government. Approximately 375 000 people have fled the conflict zones and around 20 percent of the displaced population has sought refuge in neighbouring Uzbekistan. Tens of thousands are concentrated at the border awaiting passage. Women and children are among the most affected groups and comprise 80 percent of refugees.
As of 16 June, the official death toll reached 187, which is expected to rise significantly once a full assessment of the situation is possible. The ongoing crisis is exacerbating already critical levels of food and economic insecurity affecting the country. More than one in five people live on less than USD 1.25 per day. Damaging global and local factors (e.g. the financial crisis, food insecurity, and natural disasters) have significantly reduced the capacity of the country and its people to cope with internal and external shocks.
The Kyrgyzstan Flash Appeal 2010 was launched on 18 June and seeks over USD 71.1 million to address the emergency needs of more than one million people affected by the conflict, including 300 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and up to 765 300 direct and indirect victims, such as those remaining in the affected areas and host communities. The Appeal will be revised in one month as the situation unfolds and further assessment results become available.
Challenges facing food security and agriculture
Agriculture is paramount to household food security and income generation in Kyrgyzstan, particularly among the extreme poor. The sector provides a livelihood to around 30 percent of the labour force, which continues to have the highest incidence of poverty. The ongoing displacement, looting of farming assets, destruction of infrastructure, disruption of markets and border closures threaten to increase food insecurity among this highly vulnerable group. In the most affected areas, many are forced to kill their livestock in order to feed their families.
Unattended crops are dying as displacement and insecurity have prevented farmers from irrigating their vegetables, orchards and other crops. If unable to harvest wheat in July, farmers will lack sufficient seed for the next planting season. Poor farmers were already struggling to recover from increased food costs and natural disasters, including the flood that hit southern Kyrgyzstan in early June. Without timely support, these families risk losing their primary means of sustenance and falling into longer-term hunger and destitution.
Within the Food Security and Agriculture Response Plan of the Kyrgyzstan Flash Appeal 2010, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) seeks USD 2.7 million to support the emergency needs of farming families most affected by the crisis.
With donor support, FAO aims to provide time-critical assistance to restore food production and agriculture-based livelihoods, through the provision of quality seeds, farming tools, fertilizer, livestock and technical support. FAO and the World Food Programme are co-leading the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster to ensure a coordinated and effective response, targeted to the most vulnerable families.