Russia

Ingushetia Situation Report No. 14

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Posted
Originally published


Latest developments
1. Foreign Organisations are to be allowed into Chechnya.

2. A group of prominent Americans has established a private committee aimed at helping to bring the war against Chechnya to a negotiated end.

3. Two Polish hostages were freed from captivity in Chechnya.

4. The Assistant of the Acting Russian President warned about Khattab’s plans to break up the presidential elections in Russia.

5. Furious week-long battles continued in the south of Chechnya.

6. Russia acknowledges heavy losses in Chechnya.

1. On March 3 the United States and the EU strongly condemned Russia's military campaign in Chechnya and received assurances from Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov that Moscow wants to improve the humanitarian situation in the republic. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and EU officials met with Ivanov to discuss Chechnya. Later at a press conference, Albright said serious differences over Russia's actions in Chechnya remain. Albright said Moscow should let non-governmental organisations into Chechnya to investigate charges of human rights abuses in Chechnya and repair damage to Russia's image in the world. “There's a real chance here for the Russian investigators to draw on the information and expertise of NGOs in the field,” she said. Albright and Foreign Minister Jaime Gama of Portugal, who now holds the rotating EU presidency, said that Ivanov promised to allow inspections by ranking delegations from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

2. A group of prominent Americans has established a private committee aimed at helping to bring the war against Chechnya to a negotiated end. The organization is called the American Committee for Chechnya. Its founders include former US Secretary of State Alexander Haig and former White House National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski. The committee also said the United States should announce a comprehensive plan to deter what it called “Russian aggression” and provide humanitarian relief to the Chechen people. The group said the US should also initiate consultations with other members of the Group of Seven (G-7) industrial democracies regarding the suspension of Russia from participation in the annual G-7 summit. It also said the United Nations Commission on Human Rights should appoint a special rapporteur on Chechnya with authorization to investigate alleged Russian violations of the Geneva Convention regarding conduct toward civilians.

3. Two Polish women freed from captivity in Chechnya arrived in Moscow on Saturday, March 3, on their way back to Poland and told of the hardships they had endured after being kidnapped more than six months ago. The two biologists, who were expected to return to Poland later Saturday, told reporters they were constantly moved by their captors after being taken hostage last August in the neighboring North Caucasus region of Dagestan. “There were times when we had no food or water,” said Zofia Fischer, who was freed along with Ewa Marchwinska earlier this week by a special Russian police unit combating organized crime. The two biologists disappeared on a research trip in Dagestan near the Chechen border. Polish media had reported their Chechen kidnappers had demanded $2 million ransom, but no ransom was paid.

4. On March 2 Sergei Yastrzhembski, Assistant of the Acting Russian President, announced that a Chechen militant leader and citizen of Jordan, Khattab, plans to organize terrorist acts in order to break up the presidential elections in Russia. The information was obtained by means of a radio intercept of Hattab's conversation with one of his “sponsors from the Middle East”. According to the radio intercept, militants are planning to organize terrorist acts in Russian cities, including Moscow, and on a Russian nuclear plant. Hattab supposedly has prepared acts that "will shock Russia", the assistant of the acting Russian president said. Yastrzhembski remarked that as one would gather from the evidence, Khattab is still hoping to expand the conflict in the North Caucasus region.

5. Furious week-long battles continued near the Chechen high mountain villages of Ulus-Kert and Selmentausen, and near Komsomolskoye in the lower foothills further north. Up to 1,500 Chechen fighters were believed holed up in Komsomolskoye village. Earlier this week Russia said only 25-30 fighters were in the village, but officials have revised their figures upwards, contradicting earlier assertions that guerrillas could no longer field large units. Russia now has nominal control of virtually all Chechen territory, but the rebels have repeatedly seized villages previously held by Russian troops, forcing them to storm them again at great cost. The rebels say they are fanning out throughout Chechnya to stage partisan raids on Russian positions.

6. Russia has acknowledged that 156 of its servicemen had been killed over the past week, making it one of the bloodiest weeks of the war. Many of the recent dead, including 20 paramilitary police killed last week in an ambush near Grozny and an entire company of 84 paratroops wiped out near Selmentausen, were among Russia's best troops.

Distribution

DRC Emergency Assistance Project

In the period from 28/02 to 9/03 DRC field workers conducted distributions of DANIDA, UNHCR, Stichting Vluchteling (Netherlands), DCA, NRC and UNICEF winter clothing, UNHCR soap and UNHCR children’s tights for IDPs living in spontaneous settlements and with host families in Ingushetia.

Total number of winter clothing distributed by DRC in Ingushetia so far:

Winter coats – 104,083

Winter boots – 76,768

The DRC FO Nazran currently employs 37 local staff. On March 7, the DRC FO Nazran moved to bigger premises, where also the IDP Information Center has been established (see below - Registration). Address: 14, ul. Nuradilova, Nazran. Tel. 87322 – 28944, 26771, mobile 8901-497 90 47.

UNHCR/WFP/DRC Joint Program of Emergency Assistance

Since 18 December 1999, DRC has been implementing a logistic operation for UNHCR in Ingushetia. At the initial stage of the operation comprised of the DRC logistical support and facilitation of distribution of UNHCR relief items (food, non-food) for Chechen IDPs in Ingushetia, DRC focused on Ingushetia’s eastern Sunzha District. Later, from 8 February 8 2000, DRC started covering Nazran Region and Nazran Municipal District. DRC is planning to conduct food distributions in Malgobek District starting from 25 or 26 March. In all mentioned districts DRC has established warehouses and distributions (see scheme - 1 attached) and a new prefabricated warehouse has been erected near the town of Malgobek. Together, 56 distribution points have been established. DRC warehouses are located in Sletpsovskaya (450 m2), Nazran (2000 m2) and Malgobek (450m2).

In addition to the joint program with UNHCR, DRC has established a cooperation with World Food Program, and WFP has delivered, through EMERCOM and WFP’s implementing partner based in Moscow/Vladikavkaz, World Vision, food items since 13 February. The WFP supplies are distributed according to the already established distribution mechanism under the DRC logistics operation in Ingushetia. WFP will deliver wheat flour, pulses, oil, sugar and salt to be distributed to IDPs and host families equivalent to 10,104 MT until June 30.

Five cycles of distribution have been carried out so far in the Sunzha District (cycle #1 from 26 December - 9 January and cycle #2 from 10 - 26 January, cycle #3 from 27 January – 10 February and cycle #4 from 11 February – 25 February, cycle #5 from 26 February – 10 March) and two cycles in Nazran District (cycle #1 from 8 February – 22 February, cycle #2 from 23 February – 8 March). In addition, DRC has distributed a total of 38,399 liters of oil for IDPs in Aki-Yurt (Malgobek District) on 9 February. Distribution of food usually takes place during the first week of the cycles and distribution of non-food during the second week.

Based on the supplies provided by UNHCR, a total of 1,950 MT of food items have been distributed by DRC from 26 December to 9 March in Ingushetia.

UNHCR Commodities Distributed by DRC in the period of 26.12.99 - 9.03.00

Total for Nazran City, Nazran Region and Sunzha Region

WFP food items have been distributed by DRC from 13 February to 12 March in the amount of 1,048 MT.

WFP Commodities Distributed by DRC in the period of 13.02.00 - 12.03.00
Total for Nazran Municipal District, Nazran Region and Sunzha Region
W/Flour
Sugar
UNITS
MT
MT
Total Items distributed by DRC
987.340
61.051

The food rations cover the nutritional needs per individual (according to WFP standards) during a two week cycle. The monitoring system implemented enables DRC to control and trace all stages of the distributions. For that two monitors are present at every final distribution point at all times of distribution. A rotation system of the DRC monitors allows to prevent too close ties between the monitors and representatives for local administration who are in charge of the actual distribution at the distribution points. Hence, the mechanism helps avoiding misuse of the humanitarian aid.

Earlier it has been agreed that the Saudi Arabian Relief Committee (SARC) will focus on distribution of food items in the town and area of Karabulak (24,092 IDPs) and the UK based IRA (Islamic Relief Agency) is distributing food aid in the camps of Sputnik (7,976 IDPs), Severni (4,511 IDPs). These areas have not been covered by DRC/UNHCR/WFP. On 13 March it has been agreed that IRA for the future also will cover Nazran region (37,122 IDPs), excluding Nazran Municipal District. IRA will utilize the food distribution points already set up by DRC. This leaves 139,258 IDPs in Sunzhenski region, excluding the camps of Severni and Sputnik (41,299), Malgobekski region (44,370) and Nazran Municipal District (53,589) to be covered by DRC with supplies provided by UNHCR and WFP.

IRA and SARC both conduct their distributions according to the DRC IDP database. Both agencies distribute food parcels. IRA distributes parcels on a weekly basis consisting of 1 liter of oil, 10 boxes of matches, 3 candles, 2 packs of tea, 1 kg. salt, 2 kg. rice, 200 g. pasta, 10 kg. wheat flour, 2 kg. sugar. Families of 1-4 receive 1 packet, 5-9 – 2 packets, 10+ receive 3 packets. IRA distributions take place on a weekly basis. SARC distributes packets with a similar content on a monthly basis. However, their packages are distributed per individual.

DRC will start its distributions in Malgobek region on 25 or 26 March pending deliveries of WFP supplies. ICRC has just finalized distribution in that region, which has allowed DRC to postpone the distribution slightly without affecting the needs of the IDP population. Hence, the food distribution is totally coordinated and now covers all regions of Ingushetia.

On 13 March, it was agreed with UNHCR that DRC will buy and erect two additional warehouses in Malgobek and Sleptsovskaya funded by UNHCR.

Under the DRC Logistics Operation, two DRC expatriate logisticians are deployed in Ingushetia. In addition, the DRC logistics operations now employs 86 local staff.

Detailed information on distribution of non-food items under the joint UNHCR/DRC operation will follow in the next DRC situation report on Ingushetia.

Registration

DRC FO Nazran has finished registration of host families (HF) in Ingushetia. A total of 12,711 HFs have been registered. Out of them 10,384 HFs do not charge IDPs for provision of the accommodation. DRC is preparing to expand its logistics operation in Ingushetia also to cover host families. Each family will receive the food ration also provided to the IDPs. The families will receive food in quantities for 6-7 persons, no matter the number of host family members. The food will be distributed to the host families at the FDPs in conjunction with the distribution of food for the IDPs. At each FDP the host family beneficiaries will receive their rations just after the distribution for IDPs have been concluded. The inclusion of host families in the distribution scheme is to be initiated as soon as food supplies from UNHCR can be delivered at the DRC operated warehouses in Ingushetia.

Number of HFs in Ingushetia (breakdown by district):

The basic registration of the IDPs currently settled in Ingushetia was conducted by the Danish Refugee Council from 15 January to 22 February 2000. The registration was funded by UNHCR. An additional registration took place from 22 to 29 February that also allowed for corrections of minor mistakes that had occurred in the first preliminary version of the database. After the information collected during the additional registration has been processed, it appears that the total number of IDPs from Chechnya in Ingushetia has increased significantly and by late February has arrived at 213,821 instead of the originally registered 186,149 IDPs.

The warfare in Chechnya has made most of its population dependent on humanitarian aid which is being distributed almost exclusively in Ingushetia. Presumably this is one of the main reasons why IDPs from Chechnya, who have returned to their places of permanent residence, still have left their family representatives entitled to receive relief aid in Ingushetia. Some people who disclosed the mechanisms of distribution have also come to Ingushetia from Chechnya to obtain assistance. All together, these factors have contributed to an increase in the total number of IDPs now in Ingushetia. Whereas it was previously planned to maintain permanent registration points in Ingushetia, DRC has decided to terminate the on-going registration of IDP in order to prevent an additional influx of IDPs into Ingushetia.

It is envisaged that the results of the DRC deregistration mechanisms soon will become apparent. The deregistration takes place at the food distribution points. When registrered IDPs have not appeared twice during the bi-weekly food distributions, they are assumed to have returned and are deleted from the IDP database. Hence, DRC expects that the number of registered IDPs shortly will decrease again.

Shortly after the end of the basic registration of the IDP population in Ingushetia, DRC opened an Information Center in Nazran. The Center provides IDPs with information for family reunification, assists the displaced in identification of their registration points, etc. It is located at DRC FO Nazran and consists of two DRC staff receiving visitors from 9:00 to 17:00 (incl. Saturdays and Sundays). Over 30,000 IDPs have registered themselves more than once during the IDP registration and double entries on the same IDPs have been deleted from the database. Consequently, many double registered IDPs are not aware of the distribution points where they are entitled to receive their food rations.

So far more than 3,000 displaced persons have visited the DRC Information Center.

Inter-Agency Issues

On March 1, DRC FO Nazran Co-ordinator, Kharon Deniev, met with a representative for Physicians For Human Rights, Mr. Douglas Ford who expressed his keen interest in DRC’s plan to implement a Mine Awareness Program. The idea of this project is to conduct series of disseminations to civilian population in Chechnya on mine awareness. Mr. Ford showed readiness to co-operate with DRC concerning facilitation of the issue and to send a group of doctors to Chechnya.

On March 2, DRC FO Nazran had a meeting with the German NGO “Help”. Its representative, Roberta Lasorella, informed DRC about her wish to establish co-operation between “Help” and DRC. “Help” is going to open an office in Nazran in the immediate future and plans to distribute food items in Ingushetia.

On March 2, DRC FO Nazran met with Islamic Relief (Saudi Arabia) representative who requested a CD-ROM disc with IDP database program. IR gladly agreed to participate at Inter-Agency meeting in Ingushetia. From March 2 to March 13, DRC has provided some 10 international agencies with a copy of the database CD-ROM.

On March 3, an Inter-Agency Meeting took place at DRC FO Nazran premises. Among the participants there were such NGO representatives as MDM, Salvation Army, ACF, Mercy Corps International (MCI), Help - Germany, Islamic Relief (Saudi Arabia), Memorial, MSF – Belgium, DRC. The meeting discussed present activities and plans for the future.

  • Help – Germany expects cargo from Germany to arrive in Ingushetia in two weeks time. The aid will consist of food items, blankets, hygienic kits and clothes for all age groups. In the future Help is going to procure locally produced items. Before Help didn’t have any operations in the North Caucasus. That’s why, taking into account its aspiration for a long-term presence in the area, Help expressed importance of advanced co-operation with the other NGOs working in Ingushetia.
  • Islamic Relief (Saudi Arabia) is going to distribute food kits for all IDPs living in every compact settlement of the town of Karabulak on a weekly basis.
  • ACF has focused its attention on Karabulak (15 000 IDPs) and Sleptsovskaya (20 000 IDPs). Currently ACF is undertaking an assessment on lactating and pregnant women. ACF is considering the possibility to start projects in Assinovskaya and Sernovodsk (Chechnya) and to deliver the usual list of relief items, that is flour, sugar, oil.
  • MCI is doing small-scale distributions in Assinski and Sernovodsk. Last week MCI delivered 220 hygienic kits to IDPs living in Sernovodsk train wagon settlement as well as distributed clothes to children in Assinovskaya (50 families).
  • MDM supply clinics and medical points with medicine. MDM distinguishes with its wide-spread network of locations inside Chechnya where this agency is providing medical assistance (Shalinski District, Stary Sunzha, Stary Atagi).
  • Salvation Army continues distributing drugs and infant food in Ingushetia. On March 2 SA sent its first relief aid cargo to Chechnya (300 kits of infant food). SA is going to cover the population in Gudermes and Tolstoy-Yurt.
  • MSF-Belgium is covering all villages of Malgobek District but the town of Malgobek. MSF-B has delivered 1110 hygienic kits to 881 families (3993 persons). It plans to distribute 8000 blankets, underwear, altogether covering 30000 IDPs. MSF-B’s got 2 mobile groups: 1 registration team and 1 distribution team doing their delivery every second day. The agency has also a mobile group consisting of a gynaecologist, 2 therapists, and a nurse. Thus, MSF-B examined and delivered medicine to IDPs in Psedakh, Sagopshi, Aki-Yurt. Under consideration is the plan to form two mobile groups. MSF-B has hired a bus to use it as a mobile clinic. As for MSF-B’s operations in Chechnya, the decision on starting any project in that area hasn’t been made.

On March 7-9, DRC Tom Trier and Zelim Yandarov together with EU Food Aid Programme for the Russian Federation representative, Mr. Siegfried Debbaudt went to Ingushetia they had a series of meetings with members of the Ingush Government, including the Prime Minister of Ingushetia, Mr. Malsagov, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Marziev, and discussed the ways of EU food assistance to IDPs from Chechnya living in Ingushetia. It was agreed that DRC would be in charge of distribution of 2,041 MT of canned beef, or nearby 6 million tins of beef over the coming months. Pending finalization of an agreement between EU and DRC, the canned beef will be included in the food basket consisting of food aid already supplied by UNHCR and WFP.

On March 10, the weekly Inter-Agency Meeting took place at DRC FO Nazran. Mercy Corps International, ACF, MSF-B, Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), Stavropol Regional Law Enforcement Center (SRLEC) and DRC took part in the meeting.

  • MCI has distributed hygienic kits in Sleptsovsk and Sernovodsk.
  • BIF has distributed food parcels, medicine and bed linen in Kantishevo farm, among IDPs living in spontaneous settlements in Nazran City. BIF has also distributed baby food (under 1,5 y.o.). So far 100,000 IDPs have received humanitarian aid from the NGO. BIF is going to run 2 dentist’s offices to treat IDPs: 1 in Nazran and 1 in Sleptsovskaya. There are also plans to distribute baby clothes, napkins and other relevant items for women at Ingushetia’s Maternity Hospitals.
  • ACF is distributing food parcels in Sernovodsk (15,000 IDPs) and Assinovskaya (10,000 IDPs).
  • MSF-B continue covering Malgobek District. From March 7 to 10 MSF-B distributed blankets, underwear kits, hygienic kits to 3840 IDP beneficiaries. In the period from 6/03 to 10/03 the MSF – B mobile medical group examined and consulted 167 patients in Zyazikov-Yurt and Novi Redant and also supplied the IDPs with prescribed medicine.
  • SRLEC came to Ingushetia to receive training at DRC FO Nazran and on a later stage to spend its donation for distribution of food items for people in Chechnya.

Based on the mutual agreement it was decided to conduct the future weekly field-level Inter-Agency Meeting at DRC premises on Tuesdays.

On March 10 DRC participated at a weekly Co-ordination Meeting at EMERCOM – Ingushetia Office in Sleptsovskaya. The representatives of local administrations from Chechnya together with Chief Doctors of some clinics in Chechnya briefed the meeting about the hardship of living in the republic. According to them there is a huge need in food and medical supplies in most of the districts of Chechnya. Together with the representatives of the RF EMERCOM they encouraged international relief agencies to increase their presence in Chechnya and assured the above the they would be provided with relevant security guaranties including transportation in APCs and helicopters.

From March 13 a Committee on IDP/Refugee Affairs is to be established in Ingushetia. The Deputy Prime Minister of Ingushetia, Mr. Jusupov will be a Head of the newly established commission, which for the future will coordinate the relief efforts of the governmental structures and relief aid agencies in Ingushetia. It was already announced that starting from next Friday, March 17, the co-ordinating meetings of relief agencies working in the area will be organised by the above mentioned Committee. 11 NGOs have already been invited to participate at these weekly Friday’s meetings.

On March 11 DRC FO Nazran Co-ordinator, Kharon Deniev, had a meeting with the Chairman of the Chechen Children’s Fund “Charity”, Mr. Sarim-Sultanov, who informed about the current situation around the village of Komsomolskoye (Chechnya) and, on behalf of the Chechen Government, asked to provide IDPs from Komsomolskoye with emergency relief assistance. According to Mr. Sarim-Sultanov, as many as 6,000 inhabitants of Komsomolskoye had to leave their homes following the beginning of heavy fighting in the village that started last week. Today most of them found temporary shelter in Urus-Martan. The local authorities don’t have capacity to meet the needs of the displaced who lack food and warm clothing.

On the same day, DRC Nazran Coordinator, Kharon Deniev had a meeting at DRC FO Nazran premises with the Deputy of the newly establish provisional Chechen government based in Gudermes, Mr. Mr. Jakub Deniev, who requested DRC to provide humanitarian assistance to Komsomolskaya village in the Urus-Martanskiy district of Chechnya. Mr. Jakub Deniev requested for urgent supply of 3 truck loads of wheat flour.

DRC’s Moscow Representative Office has now been established. DRC’s Moscow Representative, Ms. Maria Olsen, who also functions as Liason Officer for DRC North Caucasus and will represent the North Caucasus office at Inter-Agency meetings in Moscow can be contacted at: DRC Moscow, Kudrinskaya Ploshad 1, kv. 402, Moscow, tel+fax 095 - 201 11 37, mobile 8-902 69 66 754, e-mail: drcmoscow@caravan.ru

Stavropol, 13 March 2000.

For further information, please contact:

Country Program Manager Tom Trier 8652 - 919 047
Inter-Agency Officer Zelim Yandarov (8) 901 - 498 08 24

DRC North Caucasus
Ul. Lenina 458/210
355 029 Stavropol
Tel. +7 8652 94 39 94
Russian Federation

Scheme 1

In addition to the food warehouses, DRC runs a warehouse for storage of winter items distributed under its direct distribution program.

ATTACHMENT

Distribution of DANIDA funded winter clothing in Ingushetia

DRC distribution of NRC winter clothing in Ingushetia

DRC distribution of DCA funded winter clothing in Ingushetia

DRC distribution of UNICEF winter jackets, soap, laundry powder, tooth paste and jerry cans

DRC distribution of winter clothing procured for funding received from Stichting Vluchteling (Netherlands).

DRC distribution of winter clothing procured for funding received from ECHO.

Total number of non-food items distributed by DRC’s direct distribution system in Ingushetia so far:

Winter coats
104,083
Winter boots
76,768
Children's pants
226
Children's tights
5,142
Soap
94,892
Laundry powder
11,158
Tooth pastes
7,481
Jerry cans
8,968