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Northern Caucasus: €22 million of humanitarian aid to support victims of conflict in Chechnya

News and Press Release
Originally published
Brussels, 6 April 2006. The European Commission has approved a €22 million humanitarian aid package to support victims of the ongoing conflict in Chechnya. Since the beginning of the current conflict in autumn 1999, and including this new decision, the European Commission humanitarian aid department (ECHO) has provided €196 million, making the EU the largest donor in the region. The recipients will include internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable groups in Chechnya as well as IDPs in Ingushetia and Dagestan and Chechen refugees in Azerbaijan. Funds are being allocated via the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel.

Humanitarian needs deriving from the conflict in Chechnya remain acute. Out of a population of around 800,000, some 200,000 people are estimated to be displaced within Chechnya, many of whom returned from Ingushetia last year or two years ago. Living conditions for the whole population in Chechnya, particularly in Grozny, are extremely difficult, and many returnees have not been able to come back to their place of origin because their house was destroyed. Outside Chechnya, around 25,000 people are still displaced in Ingushetia, some 9,000 in Dagestan and some 5,000 refugees currently reside in Azerbaijan, most of them in dire conditions. Insecurity remains high in Chechnya, with limited military operations still going on, especially in the South. The civilian population continues to suffer harshly in a conflict characterised by numerous cases of human rights violations.

Assistance to vulnerable groups

This new funding decision will continue to support protection activities in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan. It will finance the distribution of basic and supplementary food for the most vulnerable people and develop income generation and food security activities. It will support primary education, vocational training and psychological assistance for the people, especially children, affected by war-related trauma, as well as mine risk education. The funding will also cover health services and the improvement of water and sanitation facilities in Chechnya, including water-trucking in Grozny, as well as the basic rehabilitation of private houses. This decision also includes an action to support the most vulnerable refugees living in Azerbaijan.

Commission humanitarian aid department funding

Over the last seven years, the Commission has met the crucial humanitarian needs of the Northern Caucasus population through activities such as: protection, food, health, water and sanitation, shelter, non-food items, education, psychosocial assistance and mine-risk education.

Total (M€)

Humanitarian programmes will be extended to a number of areas which were hardly covered so far because of security constraints. In parallel, due to some improvements in the socio-economic situation in Chechnya, activities will be re-oriented progressively towards more sustainable forms of assistance.

Projects are implemented by international agencies operating in the region such as: ICRC, Danish Refugee Council, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, Action contre la Faim and Médecins du Monde. The delivery of aid will depend on access and security conditions, which remain difficult in the North Caucasus and a constant concern for humanitarian workers.

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