ICRC and Russian Red Cross help needy in Northern Caucasus

The ICRC and the Russian Red Cross (RRC) have just signed an agreement under which the two organizations will carry out joint projects in the Russian Federation, especially in the Northern Caucasus. Juan Luis Coderque Galligo heads the ICRC regional delegation that covers the Russian Federation, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. He talked to us about these joint projects.

What is this agreement about?
In 2012, the ICRC plans to allocate over 28 million roubles to projects under the agreement. Increasing the ability of the RRC to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies will remain one of the most important areas of cooperation. Most of the actual projects will focus on those groups in the Northern Caucasus that are suffering the consequences of past conflicts and continuing violence.

What kinds of project are you working on?
The ICRC will continue to support the RRC's first-aid project in the Northern Caucasus, covering Chechnya, Daghestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia. The main objectives this year are to hold first-aid training sessions for various organizations and companies, to train qualified instructors, to get the programme partly self-financing and to recruit new volunteers.

We will be expanding the home visits programme. From this year, the RRC's nurses will work not only in Chechnya, Daghestan and Ingushetia but also in North Ossetia and Kabardino-Balkaria, caring for needy elderly people who live on their own. In Chechnya alone, 720 elderly people in this category are already receiving assistance. Nurses also provide psychosocial support to relatives of missing persons. The programme is already operating in Ingushetia and Chechnya, and will now be extended to Daghestan, bringing the number of families covered to 230.

Families affected by violence are a special category, and the RRC started working with such families in 2010, with ICRC support. A psychosocial support centre for adults and children is already operating in Ingushetia, and in Kabardino-Balkaria nurses will shortly start helping these families by visiting them at home.

Another important objective is to help children whose families have been forced to migrate or belong to other vulnerable sections of the population. We will be supporting children's playrooms in Chechnya and Ingushetia, together with the psychosocial support centre in Beslan (North Ossetia), from which 600 children will benefit in 2012.

The Agreement also includes a new programme aimed at supporting mine victims and preventing accidents due to mines and unexploded ordnance. The ICRC will train personnel from the Chechnya branch of the RRC to collect information and to use the database that holds information on mine accidents and the needs of the victims.

How do you rate cooperation with the RRC?
Over the past eighteen months we have achieved a great deal together, both in Moscow and in the Northern Caucasus. We are pleased with the spirit of goodwill in our relations, as well as with the real interest the Russian government is now showing in the development of the Russian Red Cross.

In this context we must really note the sterling work of our RRC colleagues directly involved in projects, their professionalism and their commitment to humanitarian values.

We believe that the RRC values the ICRC's support. But the most important thing is that we work for a common cause – helping the most vulnerable – and I hope that our joint efforts will enable us to do this even better.