UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Northern Caucasus (Russian Federation) 1 Dec 1999 - 30 Jun 2000


1 December 1999 - 30 June 2000

March 2000



The underlying factors which have caused human suffering in the northern Caucasus during the past three months persist. The region’s economy remains one of the Russian Federation’s poorest, marked by 60 percent unemployment, and society remains divided along political, ethnic, and religious lines. The hostilities that erupted in the autumn of 1999 in the Republic of Chechnya (Chechnya) and the Republic of Dagestan (Dagestan) displaced thousands of people: 185,000 are currently in the Republic of Ingushetia (Ingushetia) and about 100,000 persons were compelled to move inside Chechnya itself. While intense fighting in Grozny has ceased, fighting continues in the southern parts of the republic. Extreme insecurity persists, threatening the civilian population and the staff of aid organisations carrying out emergency programmes.

In November 1999, the United Nations (UN) outlined its emergency response in the UN Inter-agency Flash Appeal for the northern Caucasus: 1 December 1999 - 29 February 2000 (flash appeal). The UN aimed to provide assistance to avert the loss of life amongst the displaced population. Coupled with the work of the Russian Government, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and its partners, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the UN met its objective with timely contributions from the donor community.

During the first week of February, the UN, with participants from the Russian Government and the NGO community, reviewed its programmes, re-assessed needs, and planned future action. The mission concluded that the primary needs of food, shelter, health, and water and sanitation are being met and must continue to be covered until the political situation improves, if unnecessary suffering is to be avoided.

This UN Consolidated Inter-agency Appeal: 1 December 1999 - 30 June 2000 (appeal) outlines the humanitarian situation in the northern Caucasus and describes the emergency programmes required to sustain the population, as well as to address additional needs such as education and psychosocial rehabilitation. The appeal’s activities focus on internally displaced persons (IDPs) living with host families, members of host families, and IDPs in spontaneous settlements and camps. When circumstances permit, the UN plans to assess the situation and deliver assistance in Chechnya in light of the obvious needs of civilians caught in the republic as well as the desire of much of the displaced population to return home. UN humanitarian action inside Chechnya depends, however, on assurances of security for beneficiaries and agency staff, independent access, and programmes being based on assessed needs.

UN humanitarian action targets different numbers of people in each sector. For example, food aid aims to reach 150,000 IDPs and 70,000 host family members, while water and sanitation projects target not only IDPs but most of Ingushetia’s population. In the case of Chechnya, the UN is planning to provide assistance for the affected population as well as any IDPs that decide to return; modalities for the provision of such assistance are currently being discussed.

This appeal lasts from 1 December 1999 to 30 June 2000, thereby including the financial requirements in the flash appeal and extending programmes until the end of June. (The fluid situation prevents the UN from asserting what will happen thereafter.) While the gross requirements for the full seven months amount to US$ 32.9 million UN Agencies seek a net figure of US$ 19.2 million for programmes from 1 March - 30 June 2000.


2.1 Financial Overview

The United Nations Inter-agency Flash Appeal for the northern Caucasus: 1 December 1999 – 29 February 2000 sought US$ 16.2 million from the donor community to enable UN Agencies to complement the work of the Russian Government and international organisations in the following sectors: food aid, shelter and relief, health and nutrition, water and sanitation, education, protection, and coordination. The prompt and generous donor response allowed the UN to provide substantial support to prevent the humanitarian situation from deteriorating. As of 10 February 2000, the donor community had pledged US$ 14 million.

2.2 Changes in the Humanitarian Situation and Progress Made

The crisis in November was extremely serious, not only because people had left their homes with almost no belongings but also because of the high concentration of people in one republic. At that time, the humanitarian situation was considered likely to deteriorate unless humanitarian action was enhanced immediately. Respiratory and intestinal infections, as well as skin diseases, were common. The pre-natal mortality rate among IDPs was 42.8/1,000 live births, almost three times the average rate in the Russian Federation. The prospects for epidemics were high given the combination of overcrowding, cold weather, poor nutrition, and inadequate sanitary facilities. The priority needs in November 1999 were food aid, warm clothing, stoves and fuel for host families, tents, mattresses, blankets, health care and stocks of drugs, and educational supplies. Other needs included post-trauma rehabilitation, as well as educational and recreational materials for children, the latter in particular to help minimise the long-term effects of exposure to war.

The launch of concerted UN humanitarian action in November 1999 was instrumental in helping to prevent a significant deterioration in the humanitarian situation. At the programme’s outset, the Russian Government was providing the vast majority of aid reaching civilians in Ingushetia. By the beginning of February 2000, the Government had maintained its financial commitments but shifted much of its attention and resources to Chechnya. In the meantime, the international community had increased its involvement in Ingushetia substantially.

An inter-agency mission composed of United Nations Development Programme/United Nations Populations Fund (UNDP/UNFPA), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations Security Coordinator (UNSECOORD), International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Danish Refugee Council (DRC), and accompanied by Representatives of the Russian Government (EMERCOM and the Federal Migration Service), visited Ingushetia during the first week of February to review humanitarian programmes in the region, re-assess needs, and plan programmes until 30 June 2000.

  • The mission’s main finding was that the emergency needs in Ingushetia are on the whole being met and must continue to be covered in order to avoid a deterioration of basic living conditions. The provision of emergency assistance, however, is complicated by the dilapidated state of the region’s infrastructure. There is a ‘crisis on top of a crisis’ in that some rehabilitation is required to allow emergency programmes to take place.
  • The threat of malnutrition has been abated. UNHCR has delivered over 4,800 Metric Tonnes (MTs) of food and WFP has to date supplied 2,800 MTs of food to the region. Other organisations, notably ICRC, Islamic Relief (IR), and Action Contre la Faim (ACF), have also provided food. Although people receiving food aid might consider the amount and variety inadequate, basic food is being made available in Ingushetia.
  • Almost all IDPs now have shelter and clothing. UNHCR supplemented EMERCOM to supply winterised tents, plastic sheeting, mattresses, beds, and stoves. UNHCR and its implementing partner, DRC, and other agencies distributed clothing to most IDPs.
  • Access to free health services and drugs has improved but remains limited. WHO, which has established a field office in Stavropol and has five medical monitors in Ingushetia, facilitates coordination of the health sector between EMERCOM (through ‘Zashita’, the All Russian Institute for Disaster Medicine) and a dozen humanitarian organisations providing medicines and medical services.
  • Reproductive health needs were supported but much remains to be done. Due to lack of contributions, UNFPA, working with the Russian Family Planning Association, used its own core funds to provide emergency reproductive health equipment and supplies to the Ministry of Health in Ingushetia.
  • Although there has been increasing incidence of tuberculosis (TB), epidemics were avoided and vaccination has increased. WHO is in the process of strengthening the disease surveillance system and has employed a project manager for TB control. UNICEF provided essential drug kits, antibiotics to treat acute respiratory infections (ARI), and oral rehydration salts (ORS) for diarrhoea, as well as micronutrients for children and their mothers. UNICEF supported immunisation for some 22,000 displaced children and provided cold-chain equipment and immunisation supplies to health facilities in Dagestan and Ingushetia.
  • IDPs now have potable water although sanitary facilities need to be further enhanced. In Ingushetia, UNHCR and UNICEF are providing safe drinking emergency water supplies to IDP settlements; rehabilitating the central water distribution station; laying new distribution pipes; providing water bladders, tanks, and showers; disposing of sewage; and collecting garbage.
  • Advocacy and protection on behalf of the displaced population was promoted to the extent possible. UNHCR intervened on several occasions to ensure IDPs’ access to humanitarian aid and safeguard the voluntary nature of their return to Chechnya.

2.3 Lessons Learned

Humanitarian action on behalf of civilians displaced by renewed fighting in Chechnya and Dagestan has brought to the fore several lessons.

  • UN partnerships with local NGOs facilitated the UN’s gathering data on the humanitarian situation and being able to respond to the crisis immediately.
  • UNHCR’s contingency stocks in Stavropol enabled the agency to send aid to Dagestan and Ingushetia as soon as the crises broke, thereby saving lives.
  • The UN should maintain a presence near regions where fighting might erupt. UNHCR’s offices in Stavropol and Vladikavkaz greatly facilitated the engagement of other UN Agencies in the region.
  • The security situation does not permit continuous assessment, programme planning, implementation, monitoring, and reporting. While the UN is confident that target groups were reached, it is taking measures to improve monitoring. (See section 3.2.4)
  • Good working relations with the Government, in particular with EMERCOM, allowed the UN to make progress on constraints related to customs, VAT exemption, security mechanisms for staff and cargo, and the use of communications equipment, although efforts to fully resolve these issues need to continue.
  • The presence of reputable international NGOs enhanced the operation.
  • The distinction between members of host families and IDPs is increasingly blurred. Programmes targeting both groups, such as food aid, need to be very well coordinated or implemented by one agency. As such, DRC has become the implementing agent of both UNHCR and WFP for food aid distributions.
  • Coordination at the operational level is very difficult, mostly because of the security situation that hinders agency movements and communications. However, this is being overcome by strengthened coordination in Moscow and through a strong presence of UNHCR in the field. For example, the joint logistics cell in Nazran (Ingushetia) benefits operations significantly.
  • Donors’ prompt and flexible response helped the UN and other agencies expand their programmes rapidly and prevent a serious deterioration in the humanitarian situation. In the early stages of the crisis before an assessment could be carried out and an appeal launched, UN Agencies relied on their core funds and in the case of UNHCR and UNICEF on their emergency funding mechanisms to start operations.




  • 2.1 Financial Overview
  • 2.2 Changes in the Humanitarian Situation and Progress Made
  • 2.3 Lessons Learned

  • 3.1 Humanitarian Context

    3.1.1 Population figures
    3.1.2 Problem analysis
    3.1.3 Possible scenarios
  • 3.2 Strategic Components

    3.2.1 Competencies and capacity analysis
    3.2.2 Overall goals
    3.2.3 Criteria for making priorities
    3.2.4 Monitoring
    3.2.5 Coordination and relationship with other assistance programmes
    3.2.6 Security
  • 3.3 Sectors

    3.3.1 Overview
    3.3.2 Food aid
    3.3.3 Shelter and relief
    3.3.4 Health and nutrition
    3.3.5 Psychosocial rehabilitation
    3.3.6 Water and sanitation
    3.3.7 Education
    3.3.8 Income generation and preparatory rehabilitation activities
    3.3.9 Protection




Note: The full text of this appeal is available on-line in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format and may also be downloaded in zipped MS Word format.

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Extra printed copies of this appeal are available by writing to:

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Complex Emergency Response Branch (CERB)
Palais des Nations
8-14, ave de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel.: (41 22) 917 1234
Fax: (41 22) 917 0023


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