World Refugee Day celebrated in North Caucasus
During 15-20 June, UNHCR organized events to celebrate the World Refugee Day in Ingushetia, Chechnya and North Ossetia. These included a series of concerts, creativity festivals and community events. On the eve of the World Refugee Day, UNHCR and the Alliance of Regional Media Managers organized a workshop in Rostov-on-Don for some 40 journalists from the Southern Federal District.
Donor Missions to North Caucasus
On 1-3 June, Benelux Ambassadors to Russia visited the North Caucasus. They travelled to Grozny to donate 600 sets of emergency medical aid and an intensive care ambulance to the Chechen medical system. The diplomats met with Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov to discuss humanitarian aid for Chechnya.
On 5-9 June, USAID representatives participated in a mission facilitated by UNDP. Mission participants traveled to Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia, including the Prigorodny District, where meetings with government representatives and NGOs were conducted.
As of 30 June 2006, a total of 22,678 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Chechnya (5,163 families) were registered for assistance in Ingushetia in the database of UNHCR's implementing partner, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC). Of this total, 8,509 (1,867 families) were in temporary settlements, and 14,169 (3,296 families) in private accommodation. From 1-30 June, Vesta, who monitors the Adler and Spartak checkpoints, reported individual returns of 153 persons (32 families) from Ingushetia to Chechnya, and new arrivals of 7 persons (1 family) from Chechnya to Ingushetia. During June, 266 persons (54 families) were deregistered by DRC in Ingushetia and registered for assistance in Chechnya. The migration authorities reported 20,360 IDPs (4,616 families) residing in Ingushetia at the end of June, of whom 7,941 (1,654 families) were in temporary settlements. As reasons for their return, IDPs cited primarily economic motives or shelter rehabilitation plans, while some mentioned the deterioration of the security situation in Ingushetia.
In response to UNHCR's May letter to the President of Chechnya, the Chechen Forced Migrants Committee replied that, following the closure of five temporary accommodation centers (TACs), no further closures would take place in the near future. In Ingushetia, no clarification was received from the migration authorities regarding any plans to close or consolidate temporary settlements after the current contracts expired on 30 June. The overall uncertainty prompted UNHCR to address a letter to the authorities in both Chechnya and Ingushetia requesting clarification regarding the results of their verification of the IDPs present in Ingushetia and their plans for both the TACs and temporary settlements.
On 9 June, as part of its capacity-building efforts to support the consolidation of the rule of law in Chechnya, UNHCR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ombudsman of the republic to jointly address human rights issues.
11 UNHCR-supported legal counseling centers (LCCs) in Chechnya and Ingushetia provided 575 consultations to IDPs and other citizens in the two republics. This brings total consultations in 2006 to 3,180, out of which 80% in the 9 LCCs in Chechnya. The trends previously reported continued, including an increased demand from forced migrants from the disputed areas of Prigorodny for legal assistance in property and documentation issues. The UNHCR-supported LCCs in Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkesia, North Ossetia - Alania, and Stavropol Krai provided 516 consultations during the month.
As of June 2006, according to the migration authorities, North Ossetia - Alania hosted 99 refugees, including 95 from Georgia, and 18,555 Russian citizens with the status of forced migrants, including 16,301 from Georgia/South Ossetia. During the month, the Georgian Parliament passed in the first hearing the draft law on property restitution for persons affected by the Georgian/South Ossetian conflict, to which inputs were provided by the UNHCR Offices in Russia and in Georgia. In relation to this, UNHCR Vladikavkaz is surveying some 900 families currently residing in collective accommodations in the republic to assess their intention to return to Georgia and their housing preferences.
DRC distributed 626.6 tons of food rations (flour, salt, oil and sugar) to 26,894 beneficiaries in Chechnya and 115.5 tons of food rations to 4,969 beneficiaries in Dagestan.
WFP continued implementation of its main programs: General Food Distribution, Food for Education and Food Fund, including Food for Work, Food for Training, TB and Dining Hall projects. Within the General Food Distribution program, WFP through its cooperating partners finalized the third distribution cycle in Chechnya by providing 1,035 tons of food commodities to 103,508 beneficiaries. WFP also commenced the second distribution cycle in Ingushetia where the General Food Distribution program resumed only in May to the reduced number of beneficiaries.
408 Food for Work program participants (2,040 beneficiaries) received some 14 tons of food for the works implemented in May and partly for the works implemented in June. Within the framework of the TB project, about 20 tons of food commodities were provided to 671 in- and outpatients undergoing treatment in TB clinics supervised by WHO in Ingushetia and by MSF-Holland in Chechnya. The Dining Hall project in Grozny proceeded in accordance with the established schedule, with 13 tons of food commodities provided to 1,600 most vulnerable beneficiaries.
The Food for Education program was suspended in the majority of schools covered due to summer vacations. It continued only in 11 boarding schools and 34 general education schools providing zero grade classes arranged by UNICEF.
Donations provided by the end of June reached about 28% of the planned requirement of $22 mln. WFP appealed for urgently needed additional funds to ensure continuity of basic food distribution in Chechnya and Ingushetia.
During June, UNHCR provided 10 box-tents for IDP families voluntarily returning to Chechnya and 10 for IDPs choosing to remain in Ingushetia. Of the latter, nine were from Chechnya and one from Prigorodny. This brought the total distribution since the inception of the program to 1,862 box-tents.
Under UNHCR's 2006 permanent shelter activities for IDPs from Chechnya and Prigorodny willing to integrate in Ingushetia, foundations were completed for all 20 houses implemented through a self-help modality and for the seven houses for extremely vulnerable families constructed on a "key-in-hand" basis. Construction also started of the seven "key-in-hand" houses for displaced persons currently residing in collective accommodations in North Ossetia.
In Chechnya, UNHCR nearly completed selection of the 65 families that will benefit from shelter rehabilitation implemented jointly with DRC. In addition, DRC, IRC and Caritas are planning to rehabilitate almost 500 shelter units in Chechnya.
WHO had two regular assessment and monitoring missions to Chechnya. On 15 June, WHO visited the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, and a rehabilitation center in Argun. On 30 June, WHO inspected ambulatories of the Nozhai-Yurt District.
WHO completed a round of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness training courses for 40 primary health care medical workers in the Nozhai-Yurt District and started a new round of courses with 40 more primary health care medical workers in Vedeno.
WHO delivered the earlier purchased HIV test-systems to AIDS Centers in Chechnya and Ingushetia. Besides, WHO purchased and delivered furniture and office equipment to a training resource centre of the Ministry of Health of Chechnya within the framework of a project aimed at strengthening primary health care in the North Caucasus.
On 1 June, UNICEF together with its implementing partners HWA, CPCD and IRC, as well as the Ingush Ministry of Education and the Russian Red Cross, organized a concert to celebrate the International Child Protection Day. Some 1,200 children attended the event.
On 15 June, during a monitoring mission to Chechnya, a team from UNICEF visited a vocational training site in Sadovoye village, where 60 boys and girls learn basic skills in carpentry and tailoring through a project managed by UNICEF in partnership with the Chechen NGO SERLO. The mission also inspected new premises of the training centre. A total of 120 young people have already graduated from the courses. A second group of 120 boys and girls started their courses on 1 July (in two locations) and will complete them at the end of the year.
Some 250 children (out of a total of 1,250) attending 25 pre-school centers in Chechnya completed their 6 month-preparatory course at the end of June. Another group of 250 pre-school age vulnerable children will replace them on 1 July. On 21-23 June, methodologists from local departments of education conducted an evaluation of the performance of five such centres; the outcome of this evaluation will be shared with UNICEF and implementing partners before the end of July. In four children's centers located in Ingushetia, UNICEF and Caritas continued to support 590 IDP children through the provision of basic pre-school education and care. In two of the centers, refurbishment works were conducted.
During the month, some 1,504 sets of school furniture and blackboards were procured and distributed by UNICEF to schools in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan. In addition, a total of 28,496 Russian textbooks were procured and stored in UNICEF's warehouse in Nazran.
Peace and Tolerance
UNICEF facilitated two regional initiatives to be held in Dagestan: a children's summer camp ("Plus") and a youth peace-building conference. Over 125 children from Chechnya, North Ossetia, Dagestan, Ingushetia and Moscow oblast will spend 10 days in the summer camp in the second half of July. The children will be attending peace and tolerance building seminars as well as learning effective non-violent conflict resolution methods. At the same time, a youth peace-building conference will be held to discuss the development of a Peace and Tolerance Education manual for adolescents and youth, as well as to allow key youth affairs ministers to define further Peace and Tolerance Education programs for the future.
Water and Sanitation
In Ingushetia, IRC continued to provide water and sanitation services to the war-affected community. 4,144m3 of water were delivered to 58 spontaneous settlements, 3 points in the private sector and 2 public institutions. 1,601m3 of garbage were removed from 105 spontaneous settlements and 7 public institutions. 2,012m3 of sewage were removed from 99 spontaneous settlements. Four water points were maintained in three settlements. IRC also continued to deliver water and sanitation services to the war-affected population of Chechnya. 7,402m3 of water were delivered to 108 water points in Grozny. 25% of all water storage tanks were checked daily. 1,040m3 of garbage were removed in Oktyabrsky district.
Within the framework of the Water and Sanitation project implemented by UNICEF through the Polish Humanitarian Organization, safe drinking water continued to be distributed to a total of 117,000 beneficiaries in Grozny. The average water production and distribution capacity reached 706m3 per day.
On 8 June, UNICEF chaired the monthly Mine Action coordination meeting, devoted to discussing on-going activities and the introduction of the draft version of UNICEF's Mine Action Strategy for 2006-2009. The participants were also informed on the initiation of the '2007 Mine Action Portfolio' process, which will be coordinated by UNICEF in the North Caucasus. UNICEF will organize a one-day workshop in August to discuss the inter-agency Mine Action Vision for 2007.
Through its local partner, Society for the Disabled, UNICEF continued to support its vocational training project in tailoring and computer courses for children with disabilities living in Grozny, Achkhoy-Martan District and Vedeno. Some 60 children are currently benefiting from the project. UNICEF also organized Mine Risk Education trainings for primary school teachers from Gudermes and Urus-Martan Districts.
At the Psychosocial Center in Grozny, which is supported by UNICEF through Let's Save the Generation, psychosocial counseling is also being provided to mine/UXO-affected children. Some 55 children from Grozny, Urus-Martan District, Gikalo and Prigorodnoe (Chechnya) have been receiving psychosocial treatment through group and individual counseling as well as music, dance, and drawing therapies. In addition, UNICEF supports the provision of physical rehabilitation to children with disabilities, in partnership with the Republican Clinical Hospital in Grozny. Some 32 children completed their treatment during the reporting period.
Funding of Humanitarian Operation
The Financial Tracking System (FTS) database for the 2006 Transitional Workplan for the North Caucasus was created in April.
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