SOS Chechnya: European Bridge of Humanitarian Aid for refugees from Chechnya

Polish Humanitarian Organisation appeals to humanitarian organisations for participation in European Bridge of Humanitarian Aid for Refugees from Chechnya.
1.1 The aim of the European Bridge is to increase the amount and ensure the continuity of aid reaching the refugees from Chechnya. The symbolic dimension of European Bridge is also important: the commitment and solidarity in the face of tragedy of civilian victims of the war in Chechnya.

The representatives of Polish Humanitarian Organisations, while staying in Ingushetia during the last convoy (Feb 2000) have become convinced about the necessity of ensuring continuous inflow of aid.

Having visited several camps the PHO representatives are able to describe the living conditions there as primitive. Refugees stay in buildings without heating, running water, beds and mattresses. They suffer from lack of basic food, hygiene products, vitamins and baby formula. Not only flu but also tuberculosis and jaundice are spreading out. Without a rapid visible increase in supply of aid a humanitarian disaster is likely to occur.

1.2. Only very limited amount of humanitarian aid from abroad reaches Ingushetia and Chechnya. European humanitarian organisations lack a permit allowing the delivery of humanitarian aid to Ingushetia and Chechnya and therefor are unable to transfer aid from their home countries. They usually send to refugee camps goods purchased on the territory of Russian Federation.

Polish Humanitarian Organisation has acquired a permit issued by EMERCOM allowing delivery, of humanitarian aid from European Countries to Ingushetia and Chechnya. The permit does not set any limits to the time and number of convoys.

Many of humanitarian organisations willing to send aid to Ingushetia and Chechnya are not able to do so because of the lack of permits and experience in dealing with Russian customs procedures. PHO has a good knowledge of required documents and actions to be taken according to the law in force on the entire territory of Russian Federation. Since the procedure of acquiring necessary permit is complex and time consuming (it took 3 months to acquire) we would like to propose to the humanitarian organisations willing to send aid to Ingushetia and Chechnya delivery by the agency of Polish Humanitarian Organisation.

2. How to participate in European Bridge of Humanitarian Aid

2.1. Organisation willing to participate in the first convoy of the European Bridge bringing humanitarian aid for Ingushetia and Chechnya (the final destination depends on the opportunities available in the time of the convoy) should send to PHO (fax: +48 22 831 99 38, e-mail:, Subject: European Bridge) following documents:

2.1.1. Application - 5th March 2000 deadline

2.1.2. The list of goods - 12th March deadline (it should be based on the example of invoice and should include following information: type , the unit of measurement, the quantity the quantity of packaging net and gross weight, price for unit and the value in $US. The model invoice will be send by fax on your request. This information is required for customs purposes.

2.1.3. The list of vehicles - 12th March deadline The list should include the names of drivers and their passport numbers and licence plate numbers etc. The vehicle participating in the Convoy should be in good technical condition and be equipped in: tachograph, berth, customs lock, two spare wheels, tools and most basic spare parts and torch. Please, fill in the questionnaire for each vehicle that will be send to you by fax on your request.

2.1.4. The questionnaire for drivers - 12th March 2000 deadline The drivers should take the following things with them: valid passport and driving licence, food and water supplies sufficient to support them for the duration of the journey, the most basic camping equipment: soup kitchen, dishes and sleeping bags, first aid kit. Please, fill in the questionnaire that will be send to you by fax on your request.

Please observe the deadlines since the invoices must be send to Russia for acceptance.

2.2. The convoy will pass through customs in Vladikavkaz, Northern Osetia (Putin's Decree on delivery of humanitarian aid to the territories of Ingushetia and Chechnya authorised two places of customs clearance- Vladikavkaz, Northern Osetia and Mahachkala,Daghestan)

3. What is at most needed.

1. Food: flour, rice, pasta, sugar, salt, tea, canned meat (no pork !), canned vegetables, powder milk, baby formula and vitamins.

2. Mattresses, blankets, sleeping bags, bedding

3. Clothes, shoes, underwear

4. Sanitary and personal hygiene products: soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes, washing powder, nappies for children and sanitary towels.

5. Household goods: plastic wash basins and buckets, water containers ,pots plates and cutlery

In order to make the customs procedure easier you are advised to load trucks with one type of goods only e.g. only 3

Please note

  • For delivery of medicines a separate and complicated procedure is required so we are not able to take them. We can deliver vitamins which are declared at customs as baby formula.
  • All goods must have Certificates of Origin and Export Certificates of Quality issued by the quality inspector.
  • Only the strict compliance with Russian procedures and requirements is the guarantee of the delivery of aid to its final destination
  • Food and vitamins must have at least one year long shelf life period
  • Clothes, shoes, blankets and sleeping bags should be new

4. Information about the route of the Convoy and conditions during the journey

4.1. The route (3000 km) from Warsaw will lead through following cities: Brest, Homel, Voronez, Rostov upon Don, Vladikavkaz and Nazran. We plan to cover 700 km daily.

4.2. Due to logistic problems on the territory of Russia (communication, only one distributor on scarce petrol station, the necessity of stopping at check points where all personnel of the convoy is registered, the lack of large parking for lorries) there must be only 3-5 lorries in one Convoy. Depending on the efficiency of paper work (especially sending of documents to Russia) we are hoping to send a convoy every two weeks.

4.3. The conditions during the journey are primitive. Be prepared for sleeping in your lorries . There is often no running water on parking places. Self made meals only. At the destination situation may be similar. The drivers must help with the unloading of aid.

Please, if you have any questions or comments do not hesitate to contact us fax: +48 22 831 99 38,
e-mail:, Subject: European Bridge)