Russia

UNICEF Humanitarian Action: Northern Caucasus Donor Update 20 Jan 2003

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110,000 displaced Chechens remain in Ingushetia

  • 800,000 Chechen residents and IDPs face their fourth winter away from home
  • Insecurity remains the main barrier for the return of the displaced to Chechnya
  • Intense pressure on IDP camps in Ingushetia to close
  • Funds are urgently needed to bridge the programme into the new year

1. EMERGENCY OVERVIEW AND RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Tens of thousands of people remain displaced

The humanitarian crisis in the Northern Caucasus has entered its fourth year, with some 110,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Chechnya facing another winter in tents or unsuitable shelters in the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia. They are spread amongst host families, organised camps and spontaneous settlements. While their basic needs -- food, shelter, water, health, and education -- are being met, the quality of aid needs to be improved and humanitarian gaps need to be filled. A continuous effort must be maintained in order to avoid any further deterioration of living conditions. In Chechnya, the situation is worse. Some 140,000 of the 800,000 people living there are still displaced from their homes and surviving in grim conditions. Tensions and insecurity have been heightened by the Moscow siege in October 2002 and by the increased pressure of the authorities for the closure of IDP camps in Ingushetia in a fashion that cannot be considered voluntary. All UN agencies have expanded their activities in the republic and various NGOs continue to operate, although humanitarian access is difficult due to logistic and bureaucratic constraints. There is no comprehensive rehabilitation plan for the republic, and current interventions are inadequate when compared to the actual needs of the resident and displaced populations.

Insecurity prohibits return of Chechen IDPs

An action plan for IDP repatriation, signed in May by local and central authorities, has dramatically increased pressure on IDPs in Ingushetia to return to Chechnya. While this is based on the principle of voluntary repatriation, two IDP camps in Chechnya were forcibly closed down in the summer, and the first camp in Ingushetia was dismantled in December. People where obliged to move to Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) in Grozny, where basic services are poor, or to find different solutions in Ingushetia. Most IDPs are reluctant to return to Chechnya, particularly in the aftermath of the Moscow siege, due to the lack of security there and increasing tensions.

2003 Appeal

UNICEF participated with the other UN agencies in the preparation of the 2003 UN Consolidated Appeal (CAP) for the Northern Caucasus and its launch in November 2002. Programmes are being developed based on an analysis of the current political and humanitarian situation, and the basic needs of the affected population. The UN agencies working in the Northern Caucasus requested US$ 33.7 million overall for the comprehensive implementation of 2003 programmes.

2. UNICEF RESPONSE: ACTIVITIES, ACHIEVEMENTS AND CONSTRAINTS

UNICEF has maintained its strong focus on education and recreation for children affected by conflict in both Ingushetia and Chechnya, and continues to intensify and improve its Mine Action Programme. In addition, UNICEF complements interventions by other partners in the areas of health/nutrition and water/sanitation. There are increasing efforts to ensure the production and distribution of potable water in Grozny and improve sanitation in schools and hospitals.

EDUCATION

UNICEF has been the leading agency in the education sector and has provided co-ordination, statistics and demographic information to assist NGOs in their planning activities. Together with its implementing partners, UNICEF is managing a network of 59 tented and wooden schools in IDP camps and settlements in Ingushetia (catering for 11,000 IDP children) and is supporting regular schools to increase their enrolment capacity to benefit some 10,000 IDP children. These efforts have allowed the majority of IDP children to attend school during the last two years, and their enrolment has been officially recognised by the local Ministry of Education. The rehabilitation of 13 schools in Chechnya and 5 kindergartens in Ingushetia has been completed and rehabilitation of 5 more schools is ongoing. Some schools and kindergartens have become safe areas for the provision of child-oriented services such as the establishment of seven Child Friendly Spaces in Grozny and 3 kindergartens in Ingushetia. Textbooks and essential educational and recreational materials are being provided according to identified needs. In addition, UNICEF is supporting initiatives to develop programmes that focus on the special recreational needs of adolescents, such as sport and information centres, dance and theatre groups, and vocational training centres in schools and in IDP communities. During 2002, more than 3,000 children and adolescents benefited from these activities and an additional 20,000 participated in summer activities and camps partially supported by UNICEF.

MINE ACTION PROGRAMME

According to rough estimates, there are up to 500,000 mines in Chechnya and 7,000-10,000 mine victims, including 4,000 children and youth. With the creation of a comprehensive Mine Action Programme, UNICEF, together with local authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), plays an important role in addressing this issue. Mine risk education and training activities have been successfully carried out during the last thirty months. The training aims to reduce deaths and injuries due to landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). The three complementary components of the mine action programme include:

Mine risk education (MRE)

During the last year, more than 23,000 children in Ingushetia and Chechnya attended MRE seminars and lessons, and an additional 8,500 had the chance to participate in MRE interactive theatre plays. Mine awareness was encompassed in the school curricula in Chechnya and 192,000 booklets and teacher's guides were distributed amongst school-enrolled children; previously trained teachers will carry out the lessons and a specialised local NGO will undertake rehearsals later during the school year. Two surveys on MRE education were carried out during the year to investigate the sensitisation of the people in the two republics and provide guidance for the fine-tuning of the programme. More than 30,000 MRE items (notebooks, posters and pens) were widely distributed in IDP camps, schools and hospitals in the two republics.

Support to mine victims

UNICEF is working with World Health Organization (WHO) on a comprehensive approach to victim assistance by facilitating the provision of services for both the physical and psychosocial rehabilitation of victims. UNICEF is supporting the prosthetic workshop and rehabilitation centres in Vladikavkaz, the capital of neighbouring North-Ossetia. UNICEF is also providing technical equipment, therapeutic materials, prostheses and orthoses for conflict-related injuries. Victims are transported from Chechnya or IDP camps to these centres on a weekly basis. In collaboration with a specialised international NGO and a counselling centre, UNICEF trained a team of psychosocial counsellors to provide support to victims in the centres and camps. More than 500 child and youth mine victims have received physical and psychological assistance, and more than 2,000 were provided with essential devices. UNICEF has organised vocational training workshops for mine victims in Ingushetia and Chechnya. Special focus is being placed on youth and adolescents. Local specialists will train some 200 persons. UNICEF has also organised the training of amputee soccer teams in Chechnya.

Information gathering and data analysis

UNICEF organized several training sessions for selected personnel from the NGO Voice of the Mountains (VoM) to manage the UN International Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database. VoM is acting as the focal point for gathering mine incident data from a number of sources including WHO, ICRC, and several local NGOs working in IDP camps and in Chechnya. This information will serve as a primary source to guide mine awareness campaign and target specific communities and age groups. The database will also serve to assist with the development of a referral service linked to the prosthetic workshop in Vladikavkaz. More than 1,400 entries have been input so far in the database, and the first statistics have been extrapolated.

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

In Ingushetia and Chechnya, UNICEF, in collaboration with the local Ministries of Health, has intensified support for the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI). Technical and logistical support was provided for upcoming vaccination campaigns through the delivery of cold chain equipment (freezers, refrigerators, safety-boxes and cool-boxes), printing of vaccination and awareness cards, and organisation of a survey to evaluate the vaccination status of IDP children. While the health service infrastructure has mainly been reactivated in Ingushetia, these services remain inadequate to cater for the needs of people in Chechnya and call for international support. UNICEF has supported the rehabilitation of the main cold chain room in Grozny and of the 12 district (second level) immunisation centres in Chechnya. A survey is ongoing to identify the needs of 'third level' centres in approximately 150 villages. UNICEF supported the rehabilitation and re-equipment of the operating theatre in hospital No.9 in Grozny and has continued to provide consumables to it and other hospitals in Chechnya. UNICEF is active in the sector of Mother and Child Health (MCH) care, providing some basic drugs and consumables to selected maternity and paediatric departments, as well as medical NGOs operational in the IDP camps. In the framework of this sector UNICEF plans to launch a 'mother empowerment programme' to increase the sensitisation of IDP mothers with issues like immunisation, control of diarrhoeal diseases (CDD) and mother-child health care.

Strong synergies are being created between UNICEF's mental health and psychosocial support programme activities. These will identify and address the needs of traumatised children who "dropped-out" of school, child mine victims and their caregivers, and other children mentally affected by the conflict. The psychosocial support programme will be further developed this year in close collaboration with the Mine Action sector.

WATER AND SANITATION

Ingushetia

In collaboration with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other agencies, the Government, and international NGOs, UNICEF continues to support environmental sanitation activities in Chechen IDP camps. Populations in these areas are benefiting from the distribution of basic hygienic supplies, disinfectants and anti-parasite treatment products. Both the quality and quantity of clean water have been increased with the distribution of water purification tablets, storage equipment and quality analysis kits.

Chechnya

In Grozny, working with the Polish Humanitarian Organisation (PHO), UNICEF has intensified the production and distribution of the only available potable water in town to some 500m3 per day. More than 40,000 people now have access to safe water at locations in schools, hospitals and water distribution points. Given its importance, this programme has recently been expanded through an increase in the number of distribution sites. With the same implementing partner, UNICEF has also started a garbage and sewage collection system in Grozny that targets schools and health centre and focuses on the treatment of dangerous medical wastes for which ten incinerators have been built. Approximately 380m3 of garbage and sewage wastes are collected on a monthly basis. UNICEF plans to increase the capacity of these two very important programmes in Grozny and to carry out awareness campaigns for safe hygienic habits at school and hospital levels.

3. 2002 APPEAL REQUIREMENTS AND RECEIPTS

2002 Consolidated Appeal

Thanks to the excellent relationships established with several major donors in Russia, UNICEF has been very successful in its fundraising efforts during 2002. Of the US$ 5.1 million requested within the framework of the 2002 CAP, some 99% of the requirements was funded. Nonetheless, by September, only 40% of the Appeal was financed with the rest of the funds contributed between October and December. This made the management of the Programme extremely difficult during the summer months, when several activities were kept on a stand-by and some important projects and activities were not initiated. Moreover, funds received recently will contribute to the Water and Sanitation sector's need for next year (see Table 1, below), leaving other sectors under-funded and in urgent need of financial support to fill the gaps and enter into the new year.


Table 1: 2002 APPEAL REQUIREMENTS AND FUNDING
AS OF 31 DECEMBER 2002
Sector
Target (US$)
Funded (US$)
% Funded
Unfunded (US$)
Education
2,300,000
2,269,119
99
30,881
Mine Action
1,200,000
906,086
76
293,914
Health & Nutrition
1,000,000
783,337
78
216,663
Water & Sanitation
620,000
1,130,020
182
-510,020
Total
5,120,000
5,088,562
99
31,438

The table and graph below show the contributions to the 2002 Appeal, by donor.

Table 2: FUNDS RECEIVED FOR 2002 APPEAL BY DONOR
AS OF 31 DECEMBER 2002
Donor
Income/ Pledge (US$)
Sector
ECHO
1,806,220
WatSan, Education and Mine Action
UK-DFID
1,169,231
Unearmarked
US-BPRM
670,450
Unearmarked
Sweden
469,050
Education – Ingushetia and Chechnya
Netherlands
371,129
Unearmarked
German Natcom
226,788
Education
Germany
196,850
H&N, Mine Action
Canada
142,858
Unearmarked
Luxembourg Natcom
23,276
Unearmarked
Lithuania
12,710
Unearmarked
Total
5,088,562
* Natcom: National Committee for UNICEF


* Contributions less than US$ 50,000 appear as '0'


4. 2003 APPEAL REQUIREMENTS

The table below outlines UNICEF's requirements within the 2003 CAP for Northern Caucasus:


Table 3: APPEAL REQUIREMENTS FOR 2003
Sector/Purpose
Funds required (US$)
Education Ingushetia
1,863,000
Education Chechnya
1,390,000
Water and Sanitation
1,008,000
Health – Mother and child health care (MCH)
771,000
Health – Expanded programme of immunization
133,000
Health – Psychosocial support to war-affected children
61,000
Mine action
625,000
Total
5,851,000

5. IMPACT OF UNDER-FUNDING AND CURRENT PRIORITIES

Despite recent contributions from the Unites States, the United Kingdom and ECHO, the fact that some funds have been earmarked for the implementation of certain activities during the year partially impedes results. Some sectors remain under-funded and there is an urgent need to get more contributions in order to bridge the comprehensive programme into the new year without disruption. As mentioned above, the disbursement of funds has been slow throughout most of the year. As only 40 per cent of the requested funds were received by the end of September, several activities and projects planned for the period were reduced in scope and size, and in some cases postponed. UNICEF hopes that donors will continue to support UNICEF's emergency activities throughout 2003 and will be able to make pledges early in the year and evenly.

In Ingushetia, UNICEF needs to renew all agreements with implementing partners to guarantee the management of schools. Any disruption in the education system for IDP children could have adverse long-term effects. Furthermore, there are between 8,000 to 10,000 school "drop-outs" not attending classes for different reasons, some missed too many years while others are too traumatised to continue. In several spontaneous settlements, there is an urgent need to replace the tents used as classrooms. Due to the increased pressure on the IDPs to return to Chechnya, there is a high risk of displacement of people between the two republics. UNICEF, in collaboration with its partners, must cope with these displacements and follow-up fluctuations in the number of schools and children, providing emergency school materials and setting-up new, alternative schools. A particular focus is also needed on recreational and socio-cultural initiatives such as vocational training, sport centres, counselling and dance groups. These are excellent ways to keep children and adolescents away from getting involved in dangerous or illegal activities. In Chechnya, many schools are destroyed or damaged to such an extent that lessons take place in alternative structures. There is, thus, an urgent need to intensify the basic rehabilitation of moderately damaged schools and to equip them with the necessary materials to increase their enrolment capacity and improve the teaching environment. Furthermore, an effort is needed to increase the number and quality of Child Friendly Spaces and other structures for pre-school age children in both republics.

Funds are needed to implement all components of the Mine Action Programme in a well-synchronised manner. Increased funding would enable the Mine Action Programme to complement other programme components such as education and health. The latest information on the number of mine victims shows extremely poor mental health status of children and calls for urgent financial support to tackle this major and long-term problem. More efforts need to be made in the field of capacity building of local NGOs working in the mine action sector. Landmines will be a problem for many years and it is therefore indispensable to strengthen the capacities of local actors for sensitising their communities about this long-term risk.

The rehabilitation of the immunisation system in Chechnya and the continuation of support to the cold chain system in Ingushetia are urgent programme priorities. The intensification of 'mother and child healthcare' and the development of a community-based 'mother empowerment programme' are also important priorities which will empower IDP mothers to take care of their children's health. UNICEF also plans to rehabilitate selected paediatric and maternity departments in Grozny, catering for large parts of the increasing resident population, as well as re-furbishing them. As the widespread psychosocial problems of children are due to their being mine victims or traumatised by conflict, an intensification of the efforts in this area would be an important investment for the wellbeing of the whole community.

The continuous need of potable water in Grozny, especially in schools and health facilities, and the increasing risk of disease transmission requires an immediate effort to keep the water production system running and to further develop the garbage and sewage systems. UNICEF should also continue to provide products for personal, domestic and environmental hygiene to IDPs in Ingushetia and in key facilities in Chechnya.

Lack of funds to bridge the programme into 2003 will pressure UNICEF to begin reducing the size and scope of its comprehensive effort to provide assistance to IDPs in Ingushetia and Chechnya. This would lead to the neglect of certain activities which will clearly have a detrimental effect on and women and children.

The table below lists the priority projects:


Table 4: PRIORITY REQUIREMENTS FOR 2003
Project
Beneficiaries/coverage
Amount Required (US$)
Education 100,000 school and pre-school age children in Ingushetia and Chechnya
3,253,000
Mine action 223,000 mine/UXO affected children and women in Chechnya
625,000
Health and Nutrition 300,000 IDP and Chechen resident mothers and children.
965,000
Water and Sanitation 40,000 IDPs in Ingushetia and 40,000 residents in Grozny
1,008.000

Details of the Northern Caucasus Emergency Programme can be obtained from:

Rosemary McCreery
UNICEF Representative
UNICEF Moscow
Tel: + 7 095 9338824
Fax: + 7 095 9338819
E-mail: rmccreery@unicef.org

Olivier Degreef
UNICEF EMOPS
Geneva
Tel: + 41 22 909 5503
Fax: + 41 22 909 5902
E-mail: odegreef@unicef.org

Dan Rohrmann
UNICEF PFO
New York
Tel: + 1 212 326 7009
Fax: + 1 212 326 7165
E-mail: drohrmann@unicef.org