Kyrgyzstan

June 2010
On June 10, violent clashes between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbek youths broke out in Osh, Kyrgyzstan and quickly escalated. For the next four days, intense fighting occurred, causing a spillover of violence to the city of Jalalabad and rural areas in the region. The violence reportedly resulted in over 2,000 deaths and the displacement of 400,000 people, 100,000 of which fled to Uzbekistan.
Georgian village of Tamarasheni Osh
During the violence, the destruction of entire neighborhoods occurred, damaging or completely destroying over 1,500 structures.

Left Satellite image of Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan, taken on 18 June. The red dots represent the distribution of "SOS" signs. (116 signs were identified). © 2010 DigitalGlobe;
Amnesty International
  • In the wake of the violence, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) obtained satellite imagery to analyze and document the destruction to Osh and its surrounding areas. Satellite images were obtained from June 18, revealing the extent of the destruction and the severity of the violence.
  • The images illustrate the significant damage in the region after the four days of intense fighting, while also indicating that some adjacent neighborhoods remained undamaged. In the context of Kyrgyzstan?s internal ethnic tensions, the likelihood that the destroyed areas represent enclaves of minority populations appears high.
  • Additionally, on numerous occasions the letters ?SOS? appeared on roadways and athletic fields throughout the city. The sizes, shape, and orientation of these messages are difficult to read for ground-based observers and indicate that the population is aware that it is being observed from above.
Georgian village of Tamarasheni
Farooz and her baby stand amongst the ruins of their community in southern Kyrgyzstan, June 2010. © UNHCR /S. Schulman;
  Georgian village of Tamarasheni
Crowds of refugees having crossed the border from Uzbekistan into Kyrgyzstan, on their way home to their villages in the south, June 2010. © UNHCR /S. Schulman
  Georgian village of Tamarasheni
Map of Kyrgyzstan Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
 
Georgian village of Tamarasheni
Several of the 116 identified "SOS" messages appear throughout the city, many painted on roads. These particular examples are painted across two lanes of roadway. © DigitalGlobe 2010
  Georgian village of Tamarasheni
These images portray a "before" and "after," demonstrating a subset of damage to the Cheremushki neighborhood, just to the west of central Osh. © Google Earth March 2007 © DigitalGlobe 2010