Northern Caucasus (Russian Fed.): UNICEF Humanitarian Appeal for Children and Women: Jan-Dec 2000



  • Widespread displacement from Chechnya to Ingushetia, Dagestan and other regions; an estimated 200,000 people, representing more than 60 per cent of the total population, have moved to Ingushetia
  • Many internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in tents and railway wagons without basic sanitation or heating
  • Children and women experiencing social, mental and physical hardships
  • High risk of epidemics such as cholera and diarrhoeal diseases due to overcrowding and shortage of safe drinking water in IDP settlements
  • Increase in incidence of acute respiratory infection, skin diseases and diarrhoeal diseases resulting from a combination of primitive housing conditions, food problems and high proportion of vulnerable groups (children and women) within IDPs
  • Overload of the existing health care system in Ingushetia and Dagestan significantly lowering provision of effective urgent health care services
  • Potential risk of diphtheria, measles and polio outbreaks due to poor vaccination coverage and lack of cold-chain equipment
  • Acute shortage of basic drugs and medical equipment
  • High incidence of tuberculosis (TB) due to pre-existing conditions combined with a shortage of anti-TB drugs and lack of expertise in modern approaches to TB control in emergency situations
  • Shortages of safe drinking water, inadequate sanitary facilities and poor hygiene practices
  • Poor nutritional status of children and women; pregnant and nursing women and children under five years of age are the most adversely affected by malnutrition; 60 per cent of pregnant women have signs of anaemia
  • Children cannot be accommodated into the existing education system in Ingushetia; schools have acute shortages of space, furniture, textbooks and recreational materials


UNICEF will focus on meeting immediate and life-sustaining needs and protection of the affected displaced and host community children and women, complementing efforts by partners including the federal Government, local authorities, UN Agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). UNICEF will:

  • Advocate for compliance to international humanitarian law and ensure the protection and respect of the rights of all children and women, free movement and access to humanitarian assistance;
  • Support health bodies to prevent deterioration in the health and nutritional status of children and women in camps/host families; address epidemics, infectious diseases and malnutrition through the provision of essential drugs, basic health supplies and supplementary food;
  • Support local authorities to reduce the prevalence of water-borne diseases through improving access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene;
  • Support the efforts of local authorities in ensuring the continuation of basic education of children who have been displaced from their home communities by providing essential educational materials and basic school supplies.


Health and Nutrition
Water Supply and Sanitation


The eruption of the conflict in the Northern Caucasus has resulted in large displacement of civilians. The resumption of fighting in August 1999 is seriously aggravating the humanitarian situation in the region. During the past months, hundreds of thousands of persons have been displaced, mostly from the Republic of Chechnya into the Republic of Ingushetia (Ingushetia) but also within Chechnya and the Republic of Dagestan. Some displaced persons have moved further afar to other regions of the Russian Federation.

A UN rapid needs assessment mission - joined by UNICEF - was conducted 3 to 8 November 1999 to Ingushetia and Dagestan. The main conclusion was that the humanitarian situation of the displaced population, particularly children and women, will deteriorate rapidly if humanitarian support is not provided. Priorities identified include provision of food, health, shelter, water, sanitation and protection. Provision of relief assistance is constrained in the prevailing environment of insecurity.

Children and women represent 80 per cent of the IDPs in Ingushetia and Dagestan. To date, UNICEF has no evidence of unaccompanied minors. Host families, in Ingushetia in particular, have taken in a large proportion of the displaced population. Up to 150,000 persons, or 75 per cent of those displaced from Chechnya, are now housed by host families, many of whom are poor. Together, the UN and ICRC will address the needs of 350,000 persons made up of 225,000 IDPs, 100,000 host families and 25,000 for contingency planning. The main beneficiaries of this appeal are the vulnerable groups, however, the target beneficiaries for each programme intervention will vary. Priority groups are children under five years of age, their mothers and women of childbearing age.

On this basis, the UN launched an Inter-Agency Flash Appeal for the Northern Caucasus, of which UNICEF is seeking $1,100,000 for the period of December 1999 to February 2000 to support emergency activities for children and women. A review of the situation will take place in January 2000 to update needs and to determine future assistance requirements.


UNICEF began its assistance in the Northern Caucasus in close cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), launching three joint UNHCR/UNICEF convoys to Ingushetia during mid-October 1999. Emergency supplies delivered include medical kits and hygiene items to 15 health facilities to cover the basic needs of about 100,000 people for one month. Hygiene kits were supplied to six IDP camps in Ingushetia.


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