22 July 2011


The reports of damage from the earthquake in the south are slowly trickling out.  First Kyrgyzstan reported that there were just some cracks in some buildings and everything was fine (how could they even know so soon?) This morning it was reported that 500 homes were damaged and 34 community buildings.

We've talked to some friends here who are involved with disaster relief in Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz friends, not foreign) and the picture continues to get worse.  Hopefully the government will get the story a little clearer soon because, from the preliminary reports, there are many people in Batken province who can't go in their homes- hundreds of families.  Many more than 200 homes have been heavily damaged.  A maternity hospital has been heavily damaged and the main road between Batken and Osh was blocked by a landslide, but that has apparently been cleared. 

One side note to give a little perspective about the economic situation in the south.  One town has about 2000 households, many of whose homes were damaged.  But of those 2000, 25 percent are empty because the residents have had to move elsewhere for financial reasons.  That is a huge number.  Kyrgyzstan is poor, but the people of Batken province especially will need a great deal of help.

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