UN returning to Chechnya border with Ingushetia

UN aid workers are returning to the Chechnya border with Ingushetia for the first time in two years after the Russian authorities agreed to provide security, a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) statement in Geneva said today.
The first convoy under the new arrangement will travel to Ingushetia, which has taken the bulk of the people displaced by the fighting in Chechnya, later this week, the statement added.

A senior UNHCR emergency officer is already in the Russian city of Stavropol to coordinate the operation, the agency's statement said, and a water and sanitation engineer is due in Ingushetia shortly. UNHCR also said it had finalized an arrangement with the Danish Refugee Council to distribute relief assistance in Ingushetia.

Meanwhile, a further aid convoy comprising nearly 30 trucks carrying food, coats, blankets and mattresses arrived in the Ingush capital, Nazran, from Stravropol today, UNHCR added.

Nearly 250,000 people, 78 per cent of them women and children, have been registered by the Ingush Migration Service, according to UNHCR, which also quoted reports of more than 50,000 returning to Chechnya.

The agency said that as of Monday it had received nearly $8 million in response to an inter-agency appeal for Chechnya.