As thousands of refugees from the ethnic fighting in Kyrgyzstan begin to return to their homes, many others are still taking shelter in camps across the border in Uzbekistan. This week’s photo is of children taking respite from the heat in a camp in the Pakhtaabad district of Uzbekistan.
|Refugee camp at Pakhtaabad district’s cotton stock point, Andijan region. June 18 2010.|
Close to 5,000 ethnic Uzbek refugees are living in the camp, which is prone to extreme temperatures. 33 medical workers have been deployed to tend to cases of dehydration and heat exhaustion. The camp offers accommodation in tents, water, sanitation facilities, and health services. Meals are served in an outdoor canteen, and a barber’s stall was set up. But the shaded area is scarce. As the days get hotter, staying in the tents during the day is getting extremely difficult, especially for children, who make up nearly half of the camp’s population.
Other infectious diseases are a real risk in the camp. All refugee children under 14 were immunized against polio within days of arrival. With UNICEF’s support, the Uzbek government is planning to vaccinate refugee children against measles and distribute vitamin A.