Russia

The Salvation Army gives priority to infant and child nutrition needs of Chechen war refugees

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As Russian and Chechen soldiers fight over snow-covered Grozny, women and children refugees continue to cross the border into neighbouring Ingushetia. In the past few weeks, Salvation Army relief workers have seen many more cases of malnourished and war-injured children among the arriving refugees. The Salvation Army is committed to a major programme of supplemental nutrition and emergency feeding of infant and child refugees.
Salvation Army staff carried out a needs assessment survey in refugee camps in the Ingushetia districts of Nazran, Aki-Yurt and Dalakovo. This revealed that child nutrition was the greatest unmet need among displaced families from Chechnya. This has now become the central focus of the organisation's humanitarian assistance team in Ingushetia, a move applauded by UNHCR.

By purchasing food in other parts of Russia and trucking it into Nazran, The Salvation Army was able to bring in a first shipment of nearly 70,000 units of supplemental food, including baby formula, oatmeal porridge, baby rice, baby millet, canned strained fruits and bottled juices. Of the first 700 children fed, 57 were patients of the Nazran Republic Hospital paediatric unit.

Besides The Salvation Army humanitarian assistance office and warehouse in Nazran, a staging warehouse has been set up in Stavropol (southern Russia) and Salvation Army purchasing agents have been established in both Stavropol and Rostov.

The Salvation Army is working closely with the other two major NGOs in Ingushetia in order to maximise effectiveness and avoid duplication. These are the Danish Refugee Council and Médicins du Monde. Many other NGOs and charities have avoided the area, due to a perception of danger and risk.

The Salvation Army team, under the overall direction of Regional Officer Captain Geoff Ryan, is made up of Salvation Army members from Rostov-on-Don and Stavropol, plus specialist volunteers and employees from within Ingushetia. Salvation Army units and individual donors from around the world fund the work. There is also a grant from Tearfund, a London-based evangelical charity. The needs continue to be greater than the resources.

AUTHOR: Captain Mike Olsen

ORIGINAL PUBLICATION: INR 00/06

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