Russian Federation/Northern Caucasus: ICRC steps up medical aid in Ingushetia

With more and more people fleeing the fighting in Chechnya, hospitals in Ingushetia are having some difficulty in coping with the increasing number of patients, most of whom are referred to the maternity and paediatric wards.

ICRC doctor Gérard Bise returned to Geneva last week from an assessment mission to the northern Caucasus, where he visited a hospital in Ingushetia that had more than twice as many patients as it could normally handle. "The hospital is still functioning despite the crowded conditions and the shortage of medicines", he said. "The wards are full and some of the patients are being placed in the hallways." The hospital had admitted some 40war-wounded since early October, he added.

The ICRC has been aiding five hospitals in Ingushetia according to needs. In view of the latest developments in Chechnya, these facilities will from now on receive assistance on a monthly basis so as to ensure that they can deal with the most urgent cases.

The ICRC has also begun to deliver drinking water to displaced people living in camps and in isolated areas. Starting this week six tanker trucks will be used for this purpose.

Meanwhile, distributions of food parcels, hygiene kits, candles and blankets have continued in Ingushetia, where the ICRC and the local branch of the Russian Red Cross have so far come to the aid of nearly 90,000 people.

Further information: Amanda Williamson, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++4122 730 26 78;
mobile phone: ++ 41 79 217 32 16