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Kyrgyzstan: a slow return to normality?

Today was the first official day back to work in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Traffic was light, but heavy by recent standards. The purple public buses carried commuters instead of soldiers around the city. Motorists even stopped at traffic signals, and checkpoints allowed most cars to pass unquestioned. Some barricades around Nariman, a town in Osh Province, have been removed, opening more of the city to traffic.

We see more smiles among the larger, but still sparse, crowds. However, the unease is still there. We witnessed a sharp exchange between Kyrgyz and an Uzbek outside the mayor’s office. An official said he felt starting a program we are working on should wait until after the planned June 27 referendum on constitutional changes.

Save the Children delivered 300 health and hygiene kits today. Uzbeks sheltering in and living near a school in Nariman received 150 kits, and another 150 were distributed in Charumushka.

To date, we have provided 5,000 people with health and hygiene supplies, such as soap . We also are conducting needs assessments and administering 6-page questionnaires — and sharing the results with the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Meetings were held in Osh to plan child protection centres based in schools. Attending the meetings were a range of officials and professionals, including the chief of the department of Family and Children’s Support, the Vice Mayor of Osh, the president’s special representative on children’s security and protection, the president’s special representative on the distribution of humanitarian aid, the head of education and the head of the Osh Children’s Home.

We will help plan school-based child protection for vulnerable children. This will include providing supplies as well as supporting reconciliation and counseling for those children who have been affected by the recent violence.

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