Russia

Ingushetia Situation Report No. 9

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published


Danish Refugee Council
ASF/Danish Peoples Aid
North Caucasus
Latest developments

The Russian forces are facing fierce resistance in Chechnya, and have made little progress last week (1). Recently the Chechen field commander Khattab, announced plans of striking areas "cleansed" by the Russian Forces in Chechnya (2). Last week United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan visited Moscow where he met with Russian high-ranking officials and expressed the need for finding a peaceful solution to the crisis in Chechnya (3). The unstable situation in Chechnya makes people flee to already overcrowded neighboring republic of Ingushetia (4). Recently the Ingush President, Ruslan Aushev accused the Russia's envoy to Chechnya, Vice-Prime Minister Nikolai Koshman of issuing an order according to which "all humanitarian aid for Chechen refugees has being stored in northern parts Chechnya"(5).

1. This week, Russian forces didn’t make substantial progress in their efforts to take the Chechen capital Grozny. A Russian presidential aide said 54 Chechen fighters in the city had given themselves up on Saturday. Another 70 Chechens surrendered on Sunday, Russian sources said. But a spokesman for the Chechen rebels said that none of the fighters had laid down their weapons. Earlier, Russian military officials said they had expanded their positions around the strategic Minutka Square. A senior Chechen commander said fighting was going on about 500m from the square, which controls access to the centre of Grozny. Correspondents said this appeared to be the first time that the rebels had admitted that the Russians were close to the square. However, the Chechen rebels have shown no signs that they are ready to give up the fight for Grozny. On Friday, President Aslan Maskhadov was quoted for telling his commanders to hold their positions in the city until 23 February - the anniversary of the deportation of Chechens to Siberia and Kazakhstan by Stalin.

2. One of Chechnya's most feared warlords threatened to take the battle for independence into other Russian regions. The guerrilla leader Khattab told the NTV station: "We are ready not only to hit any city in Chechnya, but any city in Russia as well. "We plan to seize some towns that Russia has declared cleansed and we have begun this program." In response, Moscow issued a statement that security in Russia would be stepped up. The Russian Interfax news agency has this week reported limited rebel attacks on a Russian military base in Dagestan - the republic neighbouring Chechnya to the east.

3. The threat of an escalation in the fighting coincided with a visit to Moscow by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was trying to find a way to end the conflict and secure humanitarian aid to refugees. Mr Annan said: "We should be very careful to avoid situations where violence is visited on innocent civilians, because such situations often risk violating international humanitarian law". Mr Putin told the secretary-general that Russia would try to guarantee favourable conditions for humanitarian work in the north Caucasus.

4. Thousands of IDPs continue to flood into neighboring Russian republic seeking food and shelter in already overcrowded camp settlements. Now with the onset of the fierce Russian winter, bringing temperatures well below zero, conditions for those fleeing the war are becoming increasingly harsh. The luckier refugees have managed to find accommodation with Ingush friends, relatives or even complete strangers who have thrown their homes open to them, but even here there is a desperate shortage of space. As more and more arrivals flood in, hygiene levels have plummeted and with a chronic shortage of medicines and medical facilities, health officials say there is a growing risk of epidemics. At the Sputnik refugee camp in Ingushetia, doctors say that up to 90% of the 7,000 registered refugees living there are infected with either lice of scabies. Some refugees have returned to areas the Russians say are under their control. Thousands more are thought to be crammed into the camp's poorly insulated tents, but have not been allowed to register with the authorities because they left Chechnya without identity papers. With the onset of sub-zero temperatures, tuberculosis is also proving to be a growing problem, as are flu and respiratory diseases - all of which are finding a fertile breeding ground in the camps' cramped conditions. Until recently, the numbers of IDPs returning to areas under Russian control had begun to exceed arrivals. But because of the intense fighting, twice as many people are leaving as are returning.

5. According to the Ingush President, Ruslan Aushev, who have recently visited some IDP compact settlements in Ingushetia, at present, there are 200 thousand refugees from Chechnya staying in Ingushetia. People live in very hard conditions. They occupy summer tents, 50-60 people in each tent. There is shortage of coal. Aushev said that he had recently visited refugee camps and got persuaded that refugees did not enjoy enough assistance. " As far as I know, under the order of the Russia's envoy to Chechnya, Vice-Prime Minister Nikolai Koshman all aid meant for the Chechen refugees, is being stored in northern parts of Chechnya that are controlled by the federal forces. It is being done in order to make people return to their homes," said Aushev. However, he considers that nobody will make the refugees come back until the fighting finishes in Chechnya. People turn to me with a request to interfere and help them to stay in Ingushetia," said Aushev. However, the Vice-Prime Minister Nikolai Koshman denounced the claim made by Ingush President Ruslan Aushev. "It is not true. If the Ingush president names these places, I am ready to go there with journalists and find these workhouses with humanitarian aid," said Koshman in his Friday's interview to Interfax.

Displacement figures

The following information is provided by MS - Ingushetia as of 29/01/2000

According to UNHCR figures the total number of IDPs currently staying in Ingushetia is approximately 180,000 persons. The actual discrepancy in figures reflecting the total number of IDP population in Ingushetia provided by the Ingush MS and UNHCR can be explained by the fact that some of the 269,236 IDPs have actually returned to Chechnya or constantly migrates in and out and are not de-registered from the lists of the Ingush Migration Service.

Distribution

DRC Emergency Assistance Project

For the period from 23/01 to 29/01 DRC made three distributions of winter clothing for IDPs of all age groups living in spontaneous settlements and with host families in Troitskaya, Surkhakhi and Ali-Yurt. There was also conducted a distribution of clothing for IDP children studying in a school of the city of Nazran.

*DCA - Danish Church Aid

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

  • Winter coats - 34,502 (19,627 of which provided by UNHCR)
  • Winter boots - 46,515 (14,771 of which provided by UNHCR*) (*The consolidated cumulative table on DRC distributions is attached.)

Below information on registration of IDPs according to which DRC conducted the distributions:

Most of the IDPs in Troitskaya are from the city of Grozny (78,2%), Urus-Martan (8,4%) and Achkhoy-Martan (5,8%). The rest IDPs are from Groznenskiy, Shali, Sunzhenskiy districts and from some other settlements.

In Ali-Yurt the majority of IDPs constitute natives of Grozny-City (64,8%), Urus-Martan (16,3%), Groznenskiy district (4,9%) and Achkhoy-Martan (3,8%). The rest IDPs originate from Vedeno, Gudermes, Shali and other locations.

As to the village of Surkhakhi, 63,3% of IDPs are from the city of Grozny, 17,7% - Urus-Martan, 7,8% - Groznenskiy district, 3% - Shali 1,7% - Achkhoy-Martan.

In Troitskaya 91,1% of IDPs are Chechens, 8,7% - Ingushes, 0,2% - Russians. 89,5% of Chechens, 9,3% - Ingushes, 0,9% - Russians and 0,3% of Jews found shelter in Ali-Yurt village. In Surkhakhi 97,7% of IDP population are Chechens, 1,9% - Ingushes, 0,2% - Russians and 0,2% - Tatars.

UNHCR/DRC Joint Program of Emergency Assistance

At the initial stage the DRC logistics operation, that started by the end of December 1999, attention was given to Ingushetia’s eastern Sunzha District where a warehouse of approximately 400 m2 in Sleptsovskaya and 13 distribution points for distribution of food items throughout the district were established. Also a number of camps and settlements were identified for distribution of non-food items in Sunzha District. Operationally, UNHCR delivers food/non-food items from its warehouse in Stavropol to DRC/EMERCOM warehouse facilities in Sleptsovskaya.

DRC is in charge of warehousing/transport management, whereas EMERCOM in cooperation with local administrations are in charge of the actual distribution monitored by DRC.

The system is based on 15-day cycles distributions. So far, two cycles of distribution have been carried out in Sunzha District (cycle 1: 26/12 - 9/01; cycle 2: 10/01 - 26/01). According to the Final Distribution Point (FDP) figures a 15-day supply cycle is calculated on the basis of :

Per person per day

These supplies are then delivered to the Final Distribution Point and handed over to the Local Administration for distribution to IDPs. In the below diagram one can see the conveyor-belt distribution system utilised at the FDPs.




Any variation of the diagram is put in place. The storage of the items is such that they are positioned in the positions of the squares. The items are then taken on the distribution platform and measured out to the IDPs who, after the registration desk, form a conveyor-belt system. There should be two helpers who ensure that the supplies at the platform are continually stocked up by observing when the servers are running low they refill that position. This system allows to serve six IDPs at the same time. After the IDPs receive the ration they are questioned by a monitor to ensure that they have received their entitlement.

Assessments

Last week DRC continued its UNHCR funded registration of the total IDP population in Ingushetia in co-operation with UNHCR as well as the Ingush Migration Service and Local Ingushetia Administrations. By 31 January as many as 135,933 IDPs were registered. Upon the completion of the registration exercise, DRC plans to record the registration information on CD-ROM discs and will distribute them to all interested parties. By all estimates the total number of IDPs in Ingushetia will not exceed 180,000.

Inter Agency Issues

On 25 January, an Inter-Agency meeting took place at DRC FO Nazran. Among the participants there were the following representatives: MSF - Holland, MSF - Belgium, ACF. MSF - Belgium has recently launched a program in Ingushetia and has plans to register IDP population in Malgobek district but after DRC informed the latter about the on-going registration exercise of the total IDP population in Ingushetia, MSF-B agreed that there is no need for making a parallel registration. MSF-H and ACF also expressed interest in obtaining a copy of the registration database.

Last week DRC had a training session for 2 Salvation Army monitors. SA has started conducting distributions based on DRC distribution system. Both DRC and Salvation Army are very pleased with the current level of cooperation.

From 25/01 to 27/01 DRC hosted the Mission of the Dan Church Aid (DCA) represented by Mr. Lennart Skov-Hansen, DCA Relief Coordinator and Mr. Peter Hoevring, DCA PR Officer. On 25/01 in Stavropol the guests had a meeting with the DRC Country Program Manager, Mr. Tom Trier, who briefed the visitors on the humanitarian situation in the North Caucasus. On 26/01 the Mission, accompanied by DRC Tom Trier and Zelim Yandarov went to Ingushetia to meet with DRC FO Nazran Coordinator, Kharon Deniev and to observe the DRC distribution system. The same day DCA met with DRC Senior Logistics Officer, Mr. Brian Graham, who informed the above about the DRC/UNHCR distribution program. On 27/01 DCA left the North Caucasus.

Stavropol, 31 January 2000.

For further information, please contact:
Tom Trier (8) 901 498 08 25
Zelim Yandarov (8) 901 498 08 24

ATTACHMENT

DRC distribution of UNHCR winter clothing in Ingushetia

Distribution of DRC winter clothing in Ingushetia

DRC distribution of NRC winter clothing in Ingushetia

DRC distribution of DCA funded winter clothing in Ingushetia