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Kyrgyz Officials Put Cost Of Violence At $71 Million

An Uzbek school in Osh
An Uzbek school in Osh
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz officials say recent ethnic violence in the south of the country caused some $71 million worth of damage, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Mukambet Kasymaliev told a press conference in Osh on July 9 that the final figure may be higher.

Government officials say some 2,500 homes, more than 100 commercial buildings, and 10 government buildings were either destroyed or suffered serious damage during the violent clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz that took place in the Osh and Jalal-Abad regions from June 10-14.

At least 309 people were killed and hundreds of thousands fled their homes during the clashes.

The Finance Ministry estimates that the first stage of reconstruction will require about $500 million, and it asked for that amount in aid during a meeting in Bishkek on July 8 between Kyrgyz officials and representatives of international development banks.

Almazbek Atambaev, first deputy prime minister in the interim government, said during the meeting that it's important that people who lost their homes be provided with modern housing, new infrastructure, and modern communications. He said a large effort also needs to be made to restore mutual trust between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks.

Atambaev added that "if we adopt a superficial approach and start to mechanically restore burnt-out buildings in the south, the situation may repeat itself."

He met with an international delegation sent to assess the economic situation in Kyrgyzstan that included representatives of the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The delegation will stay in Kyrgyzstan until July 15, the government said.

A joint report on the economic situation in the country and the financial needs for reconstruction will be presented at an international donors conference for Kyrgyzstan scheduled for July 27 in Bishkek.