The second conflict in Chechnya, which started in Autumn 1999 and followed a first devastating war (1994-1996), took a heavy human toll and left the Republic in ruins.
Seven years later, while the heavy military phase of the conflict is over and most displaced people have come back to Chechnya to rebuild their lives, there are still vast humanitarian needs. According to DG ECHO(1)'s Global Needs Assessment, Chechnya is ranked among the areas with greatest vulnerability, and according to DG ECHO's classification, Chechnya is a forgotten crisis.
However, as the federal and local Governments have finally embarked on a significant reconstruction effort and as the socio-economic situation has improved in comparison to two years ago, DG ECHO is now able to phase out from certain sectors, while concentrating on areas not covered by authorities or other donors. In 2007, DG ECHO will achieve its phasing out of water distribution in Grozny, will continue to reduce food aid and hopefully phase out totally by the end of the year, and will start reducing its support to the health sector.
DG ECHO will concentrate its efforts on the most urgent needs of the population currently, i.e. protection (including for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ingushetia and Dagestan and for the refugees from Chechnya hosted in Azerbaijan and in Georgia, who represent forgotten caseloads), shelter for those who are still displaced within Chechnya and food security as well as support to livelihoods, notably for those who will be excluded from food aid lists and for those returning to their homes. Considering the very poor health status of the population, specific programmes will continue to be supported in areas where the Government is not covering the needs, notably with regard to mother and child healthcare and support to handicapped people. DG ECHO will also continue to pay specific attention to children, who suffered tremendously in this conflict, in particular through psycho-social assistance.
The successful implementation of this Global Plan will depend on access and security conditions which, although they have improved in the last two years, remain very volatile and unpredictable. It will also depend on the acceptance of NGOs' work by federal and local authorities.
(1) Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid