Assistance to Chechen Refugees in Georgia
The Pankisi Valley is situated in the Northeast of Georgia. During the Great Caucasian War in the 18th century, ethnic Chechens fleeing from the war with Russia, crossed the mountains at the border with Georgia and settled in the Pankisi Valley. Six main settlements/villages were established and comprise some 8,000 assimilated Chechens, called Kists. The Kist have a solid relationship with Chechnya, and many travelled back and forth for the purposes of trading, employment and visiting relatives. Soon after the resumption of hostilities in Chechnya in 1999, a small number of Chechens crossed the border into Georgia, and continued on to the Pankisi Valley to stay with friends and relatives.
To date, 5,168 Chechen refugees have been registered by the Ministry for Refugees and Accommodation in Georgia. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Medecins sans Frontiers-France (MSF-F) conducted assessment missions at various times over the last several months, and have established a field presence in Akhmeta to assist refugees and support the local capacity to house and care for the refugee populations. The majority of the refugees, some 88%, are living with friends or family in private homes. The remaining 12 % are accommodated in communal centers.
The latest influx of refugees came in December 1999, when 1,100 refugees (mainly women and children) crossed into Shatili. UNHCR, in co-operation with the Georgian Border Guard, provided transportation first by helicopter to Zhinvali, where they received first aid and medical checks, and were then transported by bus to the Pankisi Valley. Upon arrival all refugee families received blankets, mattresses, sanitary kits, food and plastic sheeting. Various other agencies have also made donations of shoes, warm clothing and blankets to the refugee population.
In order to house those refugees without friends or relatives in the Pankisi Valley, UNHCR rehabilitated seven communal structures (former kindergartens, schools, etc.) into collective accommodations by repairing and winterising floors, roofs, doors, and windows. ICRC is co-ordinating the provision of water and sanitation to the communal centers. MSF-F and the Federation are providing health care and medical supplies to local health facilities. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and UNHCR are creating school facilities for the Chechen children in Duisi, Jokolo, and Omalo. They have identified qualified teachers among the refugee population, who have developed a typical Russian language curriculum, and have begun the procurement of Russian textbooks.
Authorities do not expect another influx of refugees into Georgia, due, in part, to harsh winter conditions at the mountain pass. The needs of the refugees now living in the Pankisi Valley are being met through the co-ordinated efforts of the above mentioned organisations. Attached is a matrix that provides a detailed account of the assistance now being provided by the international community. For further information, please contact Ms. Sarah Logan, Field Advisor, at UNOCHA or Mr. Michael Phelps, Deputy Representative at UNHCR.
From 20 December 1999, to 9 January 2000, Counterpart International delivered food to single pensioners, teachers and families who lost breadwinners in the Georgian / Abkhaz conflict. Food was also distributed to disabled children, single pensioners, the Society of Diabetics and the Society of Hearing Impaired persons in Kutaisi. Counterpart International also assisted 250 Ukrainians living in Georgia and 101 orphan children with food. Counterpart continues its daily feeding programs for the Tbilisi Charitable House ‘Katarzisi’, the Clinic of the Tbilisi Psychiatric Research Institute, the Children’s TB Hospital, the Kutaisi Charitable House, and the Kutiri Psychiatric Hospital.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has started to implement a Winter Programme for supplementary feeding. The programme includes approximately 60,000 IDPs, mainly living in collective centres (excluding Tbilisi and Zugdidi) and another 12,964 vulnerable persons registered in 15 non-governmental institutions throughout Georgia. The WFP relief ration for IDPs and local vulnerable persons consists of wheat flour, oil, sugar and canned fish. In addition IDPs will receive beans and local vulnerable persons will receive cheese. Each beneficiary will be entitled to the following daily ration over a period of 60 days: 0.250 kg wheat flour, 0.025 kg. of oil, 0.015 kg. of sugar, 0.0185 kg. of canned fish and 0.150 kg of beans or 0.030 kg. of canned cheese. Overall, WFP will support vulnerable IDPs and local persons during the most difficult winter months with 399 Mt. of wheat flour, 39.9 Mt. of vegetable oil, 23.94 Mt. of sugar and 23.34 Mt. of cheese and 29.53 Mt. of canned fish.
WFP also continues to support implementation of 164 Food for Work projects throughout Georgia.
From 20 December 1999, to 9 January 2000, Counterpart International delivered clothing and boots to 106 patients of the Terjola psycho-neurological hospital.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has supported the Ministry of Health (MoH) in its establishment of a Centre for the Promotion of Clinical Effectiveness for Reproductive Health. UNICEF has provided technical and financial support to the Centre whose main goal is to promote a partnership of obstetricians and gynaecologists that demonstrates cost-effective ways of reducing maternal and perinatal mortality. With the support of UNICEF a task force of Georgian obstetricians was set up within the Centre to review the state of maternal mortality on a regular basis, to conduct relevant studies in reproductive health and to disseminate information and major findings. The Centre has already conducted a confidential inquiry of deaths due to maternal mortality in Georgia. The report based on the major findings of the inquiry and containing recommendations on how to improve practices, will be prepared and distributed to key officials. The Centre also conducted a survey on women's view of reproductive health.
UNICEF provided financial support to the MoH to conduct a series of training sessions for neonatologists and midwives in six maternity houses within Tbilisi. The training sessions aimed at ensuring quality care for mothers and children through capacity building of health personnel, given that 66 per cent of still births take place in the neonatal period. Continued education and capacity building of health professionals is considered to be a key factor in reducing infant and maternal mortality rates in the country. With the support of UNICEF, a total of 180 neonatologists and midwives were trained in the November-December training sessions.
In order to meet the urgent needs of the basic education system, UNICEF provided furniture such as school desks, chairs and chalkboards to 37 schools in Zugdidi, Tsalenjikha and Sachkhere. Altogether, 6,900 students have benefited from this activity.
The humanitarian organisation "Pari Mdzleveli," was established in 1994 and is a local non-governmental organisation. The main goal of the NGO is to assist families with many children, and orphans living under the guardianship of relatives throughout Georgia. The organisation reaches more than 5,500 socially vulnerable families with many children and more than 20,000 orphans, including IDPs. The Pari Mdzleveli office has an emergency room which serves as a temporary shelter for homeless families with many children. During its existence, the NGO has assisted families with many children by distributing food, clothing, medications and by providing temporary shelter for them. Most of Pari Mdzleveli’s programmes are implemented with the NGO’s own resources. In the nearest future the NGO plans to take a census of families with many children, and orphans living under guardianship of relatives. Pari Mdzleveli is ready to co-operate with any interested agency. Please contact them at Digomi, 6, building 18, 2nd floor. Tel: (995 32) 529972.
Produced by OCHA Georgia. For more information, please contact Ms. Nino Zhvania, Information Officer
Tel/Fax: 995-32-959516; Tel: 995-32-943163; e-mail: email@example.com
Contributions are welcome and should reach OCHA, 9 Eristavi St., Tbilisi by 12.00hrs. on 9th, 19th, and 29th of each month.
INFORMATION MATRIX: ASSISTANCE TO CHECHEN REFUGEES IN GEORGIA
Number/Type of Beneficiary
|Food / Nutrition|
|Food parcels (flour, oil, sugar, tea)||5,168||Monthly / x months||UNHCR|
|Domestic Needs / Household Support / Non-Food Items|
|Blankets||5,168 plus||Single distribution||ICRC|
|Warm clothing (jackets and boots)||0 - 15 yrs - 2,100 displaced and 1,200 local persons||Single distribution||Federation|
|Heating stoves||one per family (app. 1,120)||Single distribution||UNHCR|
|Plastic sheeting (green)||20 cubic meters per family||Single distribution||UNHCR|
|Soap and sanitary napkins||one bar per family, one pack per woman||Single distribution||UNHCR|
|Kitchen sets||one per family (app. 1,120)||Single distribution||UNHCR|
|Water and Sanitation|
|10% of refugees living in communal housing||Ongoing||ICRC|
|Hygiene parcels (1 household /
|1,500 h/h's displaced + 1,000 local||Bi-monthly||Federation|
|Medical supplies to clinics and Akhmeta hospital||Displaced & local pop. - 12,500 persons||Monthly||Federation|
|Rational drug use and epidemiological surveillance||n/a||Ongoing||Federation / MSF|
|Immunisation||children under 15||Jan. target start date||MSF / Federation|
|Public health information||Federation|
|Psycho-social support (including visiting nurses)||Ongoing||Federation / NRC|
|Survey of children's special needs||evaluation of children||February||UNHCR|
winterization of communal centers
|10% pop. in communal housing||Ongoing||UNHCR|
|Development of classrooms / provision of school supplies||Duisi, Jokolo, Omalo||Ongoing||NRC|
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.