Action Against Hunger launches food distribution for the Chechen refugees in Ingushetia

The international relief organization Action Against Hunger has launched an emergency program to bring assistance to Chechen refugees living in precarious conditions. A preliminary distribution to 6,320 persons, comprising flour, rice, corned beef, oil, salt and soap is underway in Sleptsovskaia, a town situated at the border of Chechnya.

The distribution is targeting highly vulnerable refugees who are living in abandoned buildings, old factories or train stations. The buildings are dilapidated and often open to the air with no sanitary installations. The weather is close to freezing and made worse by the wind. Refugees are surviving in difficult conditions, and are receiving little external assistance.

Since October 1999, over 240,000 Chechen refugees have found refuge in Ingushetia, a small neighbouring Caucasian republic of 340,000 inhabitants. Arriving refugees are highly traumatized and scared. Many of them had to abandon all of their belongings while fleeing the war in Chechnya. Refugee camps have been set up by federal authorities, but most people are living in host families or improvised camps in abandoned buildings.

On February 15th, Action Against Hunger's teams will carry out a second emergency distribution to 29,000 refugees living in similar sites and host families in Karaboulak, a town situated 20 kilometres from the capital, Nazran.

Action Against Hunger is currently preparing for further emergency distributions in other parts of the country where thousands of Chechen refugees are living in difficult conditions.

For more information contact:

Virginia de la Guardia
Tel: 1-212-967-7800
Fax: 1-212-967-5480