Seasonal Floods in the North Caucasus Claim No Lives but Evacuate 6,000 People
Heavy rainfall in the beginning of May combined with the seasonal snow melt has provoked localized flooding in the republics of Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia. While there was no loss in human life, the damage to already poor infrastructure, residential buildings and agriculture reportedly was significant. According to official figures, not independently verifiable by the UN, approximately six thousand people were relocated or found temporary shelter with relatives, friends and neighbours. Although the OCHA did not receive a request for assistance from the Federal Government, it, as agreed with the Humanitarian Coordinator, encouraged humanitarian partners to use their own criteria for assisting from locally available resources. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) and other NGOs have provided the affected families in Grozny and other districts in Chechnya with food and non-food items. DRC, WFP and UNHCR have focused their assistance on their beneficiaries affected by the floods in Ingushetia. By mid-May the situation stabilized, but the issue of seasonal floods in the North Caucasus is of general concern related to longer-term recovery and development,
Humanitarian Organizations Discuss Findings of Household Survey in Ingushetia
At the Humanitarian Forum held on 20 May, Mr. Per Ilsaas, the Country Director of Danish Refugee Council (DRC), made a presentation on the recently conducted survey of IDP households in Ingushetia. Mr. Ilsaas noted that the survey was needed to map the needs, plan emergency programs and help find durable solutions for IDPs in Ingushetia. He pointed out that, according to the survey, an average IDP family was deeply in debt (average 26,756 Russian Rubles) with monthly expenditures that far outstrip income. Some 79% of IDPs stated they planned to return to Chechnya, although 80% were undecided about when. Of major current needs, food topped the list, with 59% of respondents listing it among their top three priorities. Improved living conditions were cited by 34.4% as priorities. According to the survey findings, basic humanitarian needs still remain in Ingushetia. There is also a need for combining humanitarian assistance with recovery activities. Furthermore, voluntary return attracts more attention and support from the humanitarian community. Mr. Ilsaas stated that IDPs from North Ossetia and those from the first Chechen conflict largely have been overlooked by the CAP, and he asked whether donors could fund more humanitarian assistance for them, based on the needs. In the following discussions it was noted that income generation could be pursued in areas such as micro-enterprise development and agricultural development. Given that the government in the agriculture sector traditionally puts emphasis on production rather than on business practices, the international community could offer technical assistance to agricultural producers. Regarding IDPs from North Ossetia, DRC also noted that there was space for the humanitarian assistance in temporary settlements to immediately improve living conditions.
2005 Consolidated Appeal Humanitarian Strategy Revisited
In May the aid community revisited the humanitarian strategy laid out in the 2005 Consolidated Appeal and produced, with OCHA’s facilitation, the initial draft of the Consolidated Appeals Process Mid-Year Review. Aid organizations found that needs in the region, predominantly Chechnya, continue at the levels foreseen in the Consolidated Appeal and could even increase as better access to Chechnya is acheived. The Mid-Year Review also serves as a chance to renew the appeal for humanitarian funding. Currently the 2005 Appeal is 42% funded - full funding is essential for objectives laid out in the Appeal to be met.
As of 31 May 2005, a total of 31,667 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Chechnya (7,038 families) were registered for assistance in Ingushetia in the DRC database. Of this total, 11,854 persons (2,568 families) were in temporary settlements, and 19,813 persons (4,470 families) in private accommodation. From 1-31 May, Vesta, who monitors the Adler and Spartak checkpoints, reported individual returns of 141 persons (32 families) from Ingushetia to Chechnya and new arrivals of 60 persons (11 families) from Chechnya to Ingushetia. During April, 184 persons (35 families) were de-registered by DRC in Ingushetia and registered for assistance in Chechnya. Checks carried out by the Federal Migration Service at the bread distribution points in Ingushetia in May resulted in de-registration from the government beneficiary lists of a number of IDPs having both forced migrant status and Form 7 registration. They were asked to choose only one of those. UNHCR and Vesta lawyers are trying to identify the reasons for the mass de-registration reported from the temporary settlement Promzhilbaza, in Karabulak. In mid-May another temporary settlement in Karabulak, Kolos, was closed by the migration authorities due to flooding. The former inhabitants of Kolos, a total of 44 IDP families, were relocated to another temporary settlement in Karabulak. The Urus-Martan District Court took the first ever positive decision on the territory of the Chechen Republic regarding the payment of compensation for deceased family member as a result of hostilities in Chechnya. The case was facilitated by the UNHCR-supported Memorial legal counseling center in Urus-Martan.
By the end of May, WFP together with partners delivered about 674 tons of food commodities to 32,670 IDPs in Ingushetia through DRC and IR, and some 976 tons to 108,500 beneficiaries in Grozny city, Grozny Rural, Achkhoy-Martan and Sunzha districts of Chechnya through DRC, Islamic Relief (IR) and People in Need (PIN). Double ration for May and June was provided to beneficiaries in Ingushetia, as well as those residing in Achkhoi-Martan and Sunzha districts of Chechnya. The school feeding programme (SF) in Chechnya assisted over 115,000 schoolchildren in pre-, primary schools, secondary and boarding schools in 10 districts of the republic; 153 tons of food commodities for the SF implementation in May were distributed through DRC, Caritas Internationalis, Center for Peacemaking and Community Development (CPCD), Hilfswerk Austria, IR, Open Continent, PIN and World Vision RF. During May food-for-work (FFW) groups with a total of 4,700 participants (representing 23,500 beneficiaries) continued the work on improving the public infrastructure in different areas of Chechnya through repairs in schools and kindergartens, medical institutions and community centers, state enterprises, water and gas pipelines, road gravelling and patching, as well as rehabilitation of pasturelands. FFW projects were implemented through PIN, Open Continent and Ceter for Prevention of Humanitarian Catastrophes (CPHC) in 9 districts of Chechnya: Grozny city, Achkhoi-Martan, Grozny Rural, Gudermes, Kurchaloy, Shali, Sunzha, Vedeno and Nozha-Yurt.. In May WFP commenced distribution of 600 tons of food commodities to 3,950 FFW/T participants, representing 19,750 beneficiaries, for the completed works and attendance of courses. WFP's partners in FFW and food for training (FFT) programme are PIN, CPHC, Open Continent, International Medical Corps (IMC) and Serlo WFP released some 13 tons of food commodities to support the Dining Hall project implemented by Caritas Internationalis where daily hot meals are provided to 1,600 most vulnerable people in Grozny city. TB programme in Ingushetia and Chechnya, implemented by WHO and MSF-Holland respectively, continued with providing food to about 530 in- and outpatients as incentive for finalizing their treatment; some 16 tons of food commodities were released by WFP to MSF - Holland and WHO implementing this project in Chechnya and Ingushetia respectively.
During May, UNHCR provided 20 box-tents to IDP families voluntarily returning to Chechnya, bringing the total since the beginning of the program to 959 units for Chechnya. Another 22 box-tents were provided to IDP families choosing to remain in Ingushetia, bringing the total there to 478.
WHO provided supplementary food for infants born by HIV-infected mothers to the Anti-Aids Centers in Ingushetia and Chechnya, and 5,000 copies of the WHO HIV/AIDS information booklet for adolescents. WHO funded participation of 4 Chechen and Ingush TB and HIV state experts in the scientific and practical conference “TB in HIV infected patients” held in Moscow 25-26 May. The conference was organised by the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development, Federal AIDS Center, Federal TB/HIV Center in cooperation with international organizations and with support from Open Health Institute and World Health Organization.
IMCmedical mobile teams assisted 80 temporary settlements (population 15,456; including 1,637children of the age from 0 to 5 years old) and 5 village centers (60,138 total population, including 9,476 IDPs and 7,325 children under 5) in Ingushetia. In Chechnya, IMC served 24 village communities (12 new targets in Groznenskoselsky and Achkhoy-Martanovsky districts) with 127,604 war-affected population.
Within its Expanded Programme of Immunization UNICEF procured and distributed 153,000 disposable syringes to 17 district and city hospitals in Chechnya and 8 hospitals in Ingushetia, to facilitate the implementation of the scheduled routine vaccination activities. In addition UNICEF initiated the procurement of cold chain equipment for primary and secondary health care facilities in Chechnya and Ingushetia.
UNICEF continued to develop the on-going programme activities aimed at raising the awareness on HIV/AIDS and promoting healthier life styles among young people and teenagers in Chechnya and Ingushetia. The project is implemented in close cooperation with local governmental and NGO partners and with the active participation of local youth. The Youth Information Centres and Youth Friendly Clinics, recently established by UNICEF in Achkhoi-Martan and Grozny (Chechnya) as well as in Malgobek (Ingushetia) have been instrumental in the implementation of the project. On 18 May, the International Memory Day (which commemorates all victims of AIDS), the NGOs Nizam and CPCD conducted, with support from UNICEF, a variety of activities, including lectures, drawing contests, concerts and a tree planting campaign, with the active involvement of students, senior schoolchildren, local authorities, social and health care providers (both in Ingushetia and Chechnya).
Given that the current academic year is coming to an end, agencies active in the education sector agreed to closely monitor the situation in IDP settlements in Ingushetia during the summer vacation and hold meetings with the local Ministry of Education (MoE), parents and children. This will enable them to make an accurate forecast of the number of ‘parallel’ schools that will be needed by September and prepare for possible integration of some schoolchildren into the local education system. UNICEF will promote such meetings and discuss with NGOs a plan of action for the coming school year.
Within the framework of the pre-school education component of its program UNICEF, following repeated requests from local communities and authorities, decided to open 5 Early Childhood Education Centers in Chechnya, 2 such centers in Ingushetia and one in Daghestan. There are already 20 ECE centers in Chechnya, 4 in Ingushetia and one in Khasav-Yurt (Daghestan) that provide education and general care to vulnerable children.
The Chechen MoE and UNICEF completed the joint selection of schools and kindergartens in need of rehabilitation. They are located mostly in mountainous districts or in areas with significant numbers of returnees. Independent construction experts are defining the scope of the required construction work. UNICEF will coordinate the involvement of other potential donors and NGOs, to maximize the effects of the planned rehabilitation works.
Water and Sanitation
In the framework of the UNICEF’s project for water purification and distribution in Grozny, implemented by the Polish Humanitarian Organization (PHO), the total water delivery capacity in Grozny further increased to 767.3 cubic metres per day. Watertrucks operated on a five-route-per-day basis. About 105,000 beneficiaries have been regularly served by 20 trucks through 269 water distribution points, including 35 located in health care facilities, 65 in educational facilities, 6 in TACs and 163 in residential areas. EMERCOM of Chechnya again requested PHO to start with the supply of potable water to Staropromyslovsky district and offered three water trucks for this purpose. PHO is currently considering this proposal.
PHO faced minor problems with construction works due to unfavorable weather conditions. However, 15 toilets were built in three schools in Engel-Yurt, Shali and Mesker-Yurt, and construction of another four started in Germenchuk and Staropromyslovsky district of Grozny. Construction works of a “bath and laundry unit” started in the temporary accommodation center (TAC) on Dudayeva street in Grozny.
UNICEF continued with its hygiene and sanitation education activities among children in 51 schools and kindergartens in Grozny, as well as among families and communities in TACs in Grozny, targeting a total of 30,000 school and pre-school children and 12,320 TAC residents. During the reporting period, schools and kindergartens were engaged in various activities, including thematic lessons, drawing contests, discussions and lectures. In parallel, 42 training sessions were managed by SES specialists in three TACs located on Koltsova Street, reaching 1,190 persons, including 471 children. Bars of soap were also distributed to the participants.
One mine/UXO incident in Grozny was reported by the ‘letter-box’ established in Grozny. On 30 May, a 25-year-old man was killed by an antitank mine explosion near the former Sheripova petroleum refinery. UNICEF , in cooperation with specialists from Bauman Moscow State Technical University, supported the training of two database specialists from Voice of the Mountains (VoM) in Microsoft Access 2003. This should allow VoM to further improve the Information Management System for Mine Action database, which was installed in September 2001 and has been managed by UNICEF, through VoM
UNICEF continued to provide physical rehabilitation, psycho-social assistance and vocational training opportunities for mine/UXO-affected children. In this context, 26 children received treatment in the UNICEF-supported Republican Clinical Hospital, while 25 young disabled girls acquired tailoring skills in a workshop established by UNICEF through the Society for the Disabled.
Funding of the Humanitarian Operation
From the date of the last Information Bulletin until the date of this Bulletin donors recorded the following new contributions in the Financial Tracking System (FTS):
Readers requiring more detailed information on funding of the humanitarian operation in the North Caucasus are encouraged to visit the FTS using the following link: http://ocha.unog.ch/fts/reports/reportlist.asp?section=CE&record_ID=656.
FTS is an on-line, real-time, searchable database of humanitarian needs and contributions and an instrument for analysis of humanitarian aid flows.
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