ACT Appeal North Caucasus - Chechnya: Assistance to IDPs in Chechnya - EUNC-31


Appeal Target: US$ 745,662
Geneva, 15 January 2003

Dear Colleagues,

The new Ingush Government is determined to speed up the return of Chechen refugees to their homeland. Although life in refugee camps in Ingushetia is far from a durable solution, Chechen refugees are unwilling to head back for Chechnya due to the problems of surviving severe winter conditions in minimal and non-winterized houses, serious security concerns and non-existence of infrastructure.

Furthermore, camps in Chechnya proper are being closed by Russian authorities forcing Chechen IDPs to settle either with relatives and friends or 'temporary accommodation' in the Grozny area. The security situation is further exacerbating already difficult working conditions for international and local NGOs, in addition to lack of public and financial support for their humanitarian actions.

One of the ACT members with a foothold in Chechnya, Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA) seeks urgent financial support in order to provide life-saving aid to Chechen IDPs who were forced out of the camps.

HIA will deliver the aid in the following manner:

  • distribution of family food parcels for IDPs

  • opening of soup kitchens for IDPs

  • reconstruction and equipment for kindergartens for internally displaced children

ACT International is calling for an immediate attention and urgent support for this cause.

ACT International will soon call an emergency meeting with its implementing and funding members to discuss humanitarian plans and strategies for Chechnya.

Project Completion Date: 31 July 2003

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested

Total Appeal Target(s)
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
Balance Requested from ACT Network

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

ACT Web Site address:

Ms. Geneviève Jacques
WCC/Cluster on Relations
John Nduna
Acting Director
Robert Granke
LWF/World Service

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.


  • Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA)


Hungarian Interchurch Aid Pjatigorsk Field Office

Hungarian Interchurch Aid has been active in the North Caucasus since 1995. It has been implementing a number of relief programs in co-operation with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and UNHCR. During the first war, activities mainly focused on Dagestan (assistance for IDPs), later on Grozny and Central Chechnya as well as on North Ossetia and Stavropol Region. Current programs are targeting Northern Chechnya (2001-2002).

Reacting to the humanitarian situation at the outbreak of the second Chechen war in 1999, ACT/HIA implemented a relief project in Stavropol region, North Ossetia and Ingushetia. In the subsequent programs it relocated its activities from Ingushetia to Chechnya (Northern and Central territories). In 2001 HIA reconstructed seven schools in Northern Chechnya using UNHCR-funds.

With the current project ACT/HIA wishes to focus on Chechnya exclusively.

Since September 2002 HIA has been implementing relief programs in the North Caucasus on its own. Reacting to the floods in the region, ACT/HIA has implemented two relief programs in ACT Appeals EURU21 and EURU22.

HIA was registered in the Russian Federation in April 2001.



The beginnings of the current humanitarian crises date back to 1999, when the second Chechen-Russian war broke out. It forced 320,000 - 350,000 inhabitants of Chechnya to leave their homes for Ingushetia (140,000 - 160,000), Dagestan and North Ossetia (2,200) and Stavropol region (5,000). They were accommodated with host families and in tent camps. Beside them about 170,000 found shelter inside Chechnya. This situation means serious, almost insoluble humanitarian challenges both for the international assistance community and the Russian authorities.

Current situation

In March 2001 the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya started. The Chechen Administration along with different ministries and related authorities were re-established and work started on the establishment of a basic legal framework for the return of Chechen IDPs. According to the authorities the return of IDPs from the camps in Ingushetia into receiving centres - in Grozny, Gudermes, Sernovodsk and Assinovka - was commenced in October 2001. However due to the critical security situation the majority did not return to their original homes. After 11 September 2001 the situation became further exacerbated with intensified fighting. The approaching winter has also hindered the return process as the receiving centres are not winterized with no heating and cuts in the water supply.

Due to these reasons the Russian government decided to postpone the return process till the elections in Ingushetia in April 2002. As of July 2002 only 4,417 of the 151,417 IDPs in Ingushetia and Northern Chechnya (Znamenskoye) could return. According to the initial plans 100 - 200 families should have gone back on a monthly basis. This meant that under normal circumstances the process would take 33 - 35 months.

The effects of terrorist actions in Moscow at the beginning of November 2002 hampered this process further. The withdrawal of the Russian forces was stopped and new military actions commenced.

Even though slowly the return process continues. According to the latest figures in Ingushetia there are about 110,000 IDPs. 20,000 of them live in camps. The number of IDPs in Znamenskoye (Northern Chechnya) has decreased to 2,200. On 6-7 December the camp in Aki-Yurt in Ingushetia was closed.

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