Russia

Humanitarian action in the North Caucasus information bulletin 15 - 28 Feb 2003

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I HIGHLIGHTS
Russian Government Approves the 2003 Reconstruction Programme for Chechnya

On 18 February, the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, Mikhail Kasyanov, approved the 2003 federal target programme of economic and social reconstruction of Chechnya. According to the press secretary of the Federal Minister for Chechnya, this year the government allocated RUR 3.5 billion (about US $111 million) for this programme - a billion less than last year. Efforts will be focused on finishing the construction works that have already started and building new facilities in the social and economic sectors. The Federal Minister, Stanislav Ilyasov, said that the total allocations for the reconstruction of Chechnya this year, which include the federal target programme, were higher than in 2002. He puts this year's Chechen budget at over RUR 10 billion (about US $317 million), which exceeds last year's figure by almost RUR 3 billion and allows to invest about RUR 2 billion (approximately US $63 million) into the reconstruction effort.

UNICEF/ECHO Mission Monitors Aid Programmes in Chechnya

On 18 February, a mission of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Humanitarian Aid Office of the European Commission (ECHO) went to Grozny to monitor the jointly supported assistance projects. The delegation attended a mine risk education session, saw how the vocational training programme for mine victims was being realised, visited a newly-inaugurated child friendly space run by Caritas Internationalis, hospital No. 9, and the main pumping station operated by the Polish Humanitarian Organisation (PHO) under the UNICEF/PHO water provision programme. In addition, the delegation visited a temporary accommodation centre (TAC) for the returning IDPs, noting the improvement of living conditions there as compared to the previous visit in 2002.

II HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

Protection

From 21-22 February in Ingushetia, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) conducted a seminar on human rights for 80 IDP children (aged from 14-17), living in temporary settlements. The UN High Commissioner or Refugees (UNHCR) organised part of the training in the form of a role-playing game marked by the active participation of children. The "Faith, Hope, Love" NGO, which is a UNHCR implementing partner, running a legal counselling centre, held a seminar for NGO lawyers and advocates, as well as government officials in Pyatigorsk. The seminar focused on the new legislation of the Russian Federation; implementation of the recently adopted citizenship law; reimbursement of material damages in general and with regard to the victims of the situation in Chechnya in particular.

Food

The World Food Programme (WFP) allocated 1,000 MTs of basic food commodities for the February round of relief distribution in Chechnya and Ingushetia, which is still on-going due to delivery delays. The current distribution will reach over 137,000 beneficiaries in Chechnya and more than 94,000 beneficiaries in Ingushetia. In Chechnya, the WFP school-feeding programme will cover over 43,000 school - and pre-schoolchildren, who receive hot meals and sweet buns on a daily basis. About 1,000 people in Grozny will benefit from the WFP food-for-work programme by receiving food commodities as an in-kind payment for participating in public works.

Shelter and Non-food Items

UNHCR continued consultations with Ingush authorities to clarify building regulations, which apply to temporary settlements for IDPs. The completion and use of new temporary shelters were delayed pending this clarification, since relevant departments did not issue the necessary permits. Adequate alternative shelter in Ingushetia is essential to ensure viable options for those IDPs who do not want to return to Chechnya now, and to preserve the principle of voluntary return.

In Ingushetia, Help, a German NGO, provided non-food items to IDPs from Chechnya, accommodated in tent camps, host families, and temporary settlements. It started distributing stoves to 400 IDP families and a new distribution of firewood, which will reach 2,200 families. The NGO continued distributing bed items to 10,000 IDP families as well as warm clothes to 7,000 IDP children. In Grozny, it distributed hygienic items to 10,600 needy families.

Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a training course in Nazran for 47 physicians and mid-level medical personnel from the Ingush general health service system on TB detection and treatment at first aid and ambulatory post. Another course, organised by WHO in Nazran, "Making Pregnancy Safer and Promoting Effective Perinatal Care, Neonatal Care, and Breastfeeding" brought together 17 physicians and nurses from Chechen and Ingush state clinics. The second round of the WHO-sponsored one-month course for psychiatrists from Chechnya began at the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry. Five psychiatrists from Grozny, Gudermes, and Shali raions will receive praxis-oriented on-the job training. UNICEF continued distributing essential drugs to state health care facilities rendering assistance to mothers and children in various parts of Chechnya. The agency provided a three-month ration of medicines to its NGO partner, the People in Need Foundation (PINF), which operates mobile medical posts assisting IDPs in Ingushetia and residents in Chechnya.

Education

Hilfswerk Austria (HA), a UNICEF partner, started conducting evening courses for adolescents at IDP schools it runs in Ingushetia. The course enables them to acquire computer skills and to learn English, which increases their future employment opportunities. UNICEF supported the extension a kindergarten, run by Caritas Internationalis (CI) in Altievo (Ingushetia), increasing its accommodation capacity from 50 to 100 children. In Chechnya, UNICEF together with CI opened a new child friendly space in Grozny, which will cater for two groups of 50 pre-school children each.

Water and Sanitation

In Chechnya, UNICEF, together with PHO, continued delivering potable water to Grozny residents with the average daily capacity of over 350 m3, enough to satisfy the needs of around 23,000 beneficiaries. Under the same programme, UNICEF delivered 27 water bladders to the NGO for installation at distribution points around the city. UNICEF/PHO sanitation activities, including garbage and sewage disposal with the daily capacity of 38 and 12 MTs respectively, helped to maintain adequate sanitation conditions in major hospitals and schools in Grozny.

Mine Action*

Voice of the Mountains, a UNICEF partner, conducted mine risk education sessions for about 1,600 school children in Chechnya and over 300 IDP children in Ingushetia. In addition, it distributed mine risk education posters, pens and notebooks. Let's Save the Generation NGO took 190 IDP children from Sputnik tent camp in Ingushetia to a drama theatre in Vladikavkaz to watch UNICEF-sponsored mine risk education performances. The UNICEF/WHO-supported prosthetic centre in Vladikavkaz conducted measurements and prosthesis fittings for 17 children and women, affected by mines and unexploded ordinance. It produced 7 prosthesis and 3 pairs of orthopaedic shoes. CI and the New Education NGO, UNICEF partners, provided for the medical and psychosocial treatment of 30 psychologically traumatised IDP children from Yandare settlement in Ingushetia. In addition, the children underwent recreational therapy at the Vladikavkaz medical psychosocial rehabilitation centre.

* Mine action in this report refers to one or a combination of the following activities: mine awareness, victim assistance, and vocational training.

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