The reporting period saw the closure of IDP tent camp "Imam" in Aki Yurt on 2 December 2002. According to UNHCR, 1400 to 1500 IDPs inhabited the camp. Following the cutting of gas and electricity supplies, tents of the camp were dismantled by the authorities. Some 400 individuals were confirmed by UNHCR to have moved to Chechnya by 11 December. Approximately 600 individuals moved to private accommodations with host families inside the village of Aki Yurt while some 150 IDPs resettled elsewhere in Ingushetia. Remaining IDPs inhabiting self-made mud houses are left without gas and electricity and are threatened with the destruction of their houses.
With regards to the events in Aki Yurt several diplomatic missions of donor countries and the European Community have started demarches at the level the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or with the Russian Embassies in the respective capitals.
While registrations of IDPs willing to return is ongoing, and some intimidations were reported from camps Alina and Bela, the pace of the events seemed to have slowed down. President Putin made a statement on 10 December saying that return of IDPs to Chechnya would have to happen on a voluntary base.
A delegation consisting of the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, the UNICEF Representative, the Head of WFP in Russia and a representative of ECHO visited tented camps and settlements in Ingushetia. Following this the group met with President Zyazikov of Ingushetia and General Younash of the Chechen IDP committee who once again assured the voluntary character of the return of IDPs to Chechnya. A trip to Grozny on the same day was cancelled after the group was denied access to Chechnya with bad security situation given as a reason.
A meeting of NGOs with Ms Baticheva, the deputy Prime Minister of Chechnya in charge for interaction with the international humanitarian community was arranged by OCHA for 19 December 2002 in Nazran. The meeting will deal with questions regarding the registration of NGOs who are intending to work in Chechnya during the year of 2003.
The Russian Plenipotentiary for Human Rights in Chechnya, Mr Sultygov, announced the Referendum on Chechnya Constitution to be conducted in Chechnya in March 2003. According to him, the Referendum will be a test for authorities ahead of the forthcoming Parliamentary and local elections scheduled to take place in Chechnya by end 2003.
UNICEF Intervention - Update
UNICEF is starting distribution of New Year gifts for IDP children enrolled in UNICEF supported projects in Ingushetia and Chechnya as of the beginning of next week. Upon request PINF will arrange distribution for so called "Cellar children" (Podvalchiki) in Grozny.
Out of two NGO-run schools serving the camp "Imam" in Aki Yurt, one school is presently affected from the cut of gas supply affecting the tent camp. The NGO in charge "Austrian Hilfswerk" reported on Tuesday that efforts to reconnect the gas supply were currently under way and that an agreement with the Ingush gas supplier had been reached. 102 out of 173 children from the former IDP camp are reportedly remaining enrolled, having their families moved to host families and alternative shelters in Aki Yurt.
UNICEF education programme staff are presently inspecting the status of tent schools for the replacement of the most damaged ones. The major problems are caused by rain splashes and internal humidity. UNICEF is procuring 24 tents for the replacement.
School #16 in Grozny has been affected by a fire which broke out in an annex hosting the gymnasium of the school. The school was recently rehabilitated by the NGO PINF with UNICEF financial support. The school-building itself was not affecetd.
On December 15-16, OSCE organised a seminar on human rights for the IDP school teachers who are expected to replicate these seminars at school level.
CARITAS is planning the expansion of their kindergarten for IDP children in MTF Altievo in Ingushetia. UNICEF visited the facilities in conjunction with the hand-over of responsibilities in the Northern Caucasus.
Mine Action Programme (MAP)
Mine Risk Education (MRE) / Mine Awareness (MA)
During the reporting period, 1,668 school-attending children have attended a total of 57 MRE seminars conducted by Voice of the Mountains (VoM) in Samashki, Jandi and Novy-Sharoy (Chechnya). 320 IDP children have attended the VoM's presentations in Mayskoe (Prigorodny district of North Ossetia-Alania), where the programme has been shifted from Ingushetia.
UNICEF has released 20,000 MRE notebooks and 9,900 pens from the warehouse in Nazran for their further distribution by VoM in Chechnya and Ingushetia.
The UNICEF partner NGO VoM, Let's Save the Generation (LSG) and Minga have been distributing MRE posters in Grozny, Ackhoy and Urus-Martanovski districts.
The Day of the Disabled has been celebrated in Grozny by UNICEF supported programmes, such as the VoM-run Vocational Training for mine victims and the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centre run by LSG. The latter has been gifted with a TV, a VCR and a radio set by the representative of the Chechen Government and deputy mayor of Zavodskoy district.
The group of 27 mine/UXO affected adolescents enrolled in the vocational training has completed the UNICEF supported course on basic English and Computing and started the preparation for the final examination. Two course graduates are reported to have already started working in Grozny Reconstruction Company as data entry clerks. VoM had a meeting with different ministries to discuss the future employment possibilities for mine victims graduating from UNICEF course.
The Prosthetic Workshop in Vladikavkaz has treated 12 mine/UXO affected children and mothers. 8 patients have completed the fitting process and 2 children received orthopedic shoes.
9 mine/UXO affected children received psychosocial counselling from the psychologists of New Education both in the Prosthetic Workshop and Physical Rehabilitation Centre. 3 cases were reported by the psychologist to be very difficult.
A group of 7 disabled children made their 6th trip to the Physical Rehabilitation Centre in Vladikavkaz for the physiotherapy, exercising and ultrasound examination.
The reporting period saw the distribution of 108 wheelchairs to mine/UXO affected children and women carried out by the NGO Minga in Urus-Martanovski, Sunzhenski, Achkhoi-Martanovski, Itum-Kalinski, Shatoyski and Nozhay-Jurtovskiy districts of Chechnya.
VoM database officer reported the number of entries in the IMSMA database to have reached 1,400: within the reporting period 40 incident/casualty forms have been submitted by VoM, 30 by Minga, and 30 by LSG. The information has been gathered in Grozny, Argun, Shatoyiski, Groznensko-Selski and Urus-Martanovski districts of Chechnya.
Health and Nutrition
Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI)
UNICEF is continuing the assessment of the cold chain system conditions on the level of village health care centres around Chechnya (third level). It is expected that results of the assessment will be available in the beginning of January, 2003.
The Ministry of Health of Ingushetia reported on results of the EPI activities for the period of 9 months in Karabulak and Nazran, two biggest towns of the Republic. The average rate of vaccination coverage remains unsatisfactory, with less than 70% coverage among resident children, and about 60% among IDPs. Lowest rates are those of vaccination against measles and diphtheria. UNICEF will keep advocating for an intensification of the effort and will eventually keep providing logistical support to the MoH.
Mother and Child Health - MCH
High incidence of maternal and child morbidity and mortality rate urged the Chechen MoH to open a National Centre for Mother and Child Health Care on the basis of Central Maternity Hospital in Grozny. According to the MoH, it is expected that quality of health care for women of fertile age, including preventive care, will be improved.
The Chechen Minister of Health, Mr Akhmadov, issued a decree on setting up Centres on Family Planning and Reproductive Heath in all District hospitals of the Republic. According to him this is a step to improve women's health status by means of not only curative measures but preventive care as well.
Chief Doctor of the Chechen National Centre for Mother and Child Health Care reported that prevalence of different pathologies among pregnant women is contributing to increasing of maternal and infant mortality rate in the Republic. High rate of home deliveries due to difficulties and restrictions of movement within Chechnya has been deteriorating the overall situation.
UNICEF has continued supporting maternity and paediatric hospitals both in Chechnya and Ingushetia. Basic essential medicines and consumables were distributed to mobile medical teams run by PINF in spontaneous settlements in Ingushetia, and hospitals in Samashki and Sharoi in Chechnya.
Water & Sanitation
UNICEF has continued through its partner PHO to deliver potable water to residents of Grozny. The average daily capacity has been reduced to about 400m3 due to shortening daylight.
During the reporting time, PHO worked on the relocation of some water bladders in order to provide potable water to more schools and facilitate the implementation of the WFP feeding programme.
UNICEF has continued to work through PHO on improvement of environmental sanitation in Grozny. Garbage and sewage disposal at schools and hospitals has been conducted on the same capacity level (193 m3 per day of garbage and 10.5m3 per day of sewage).
Hospital personnel trained by PHO continue using 10 incinerators built with the help of UNICEF in the biggest hospitals of Grozny.
After a three-week hand-over period UNICEF Field Coordinator Rudi Luchmann handed over his responsibilities to Ms Oyun Dendevnorov. Rudi Luchmann has been in charge of the operation in the field since July 2000 and will join UNICEF OPT in Jerusalem shortly.
The UNICEF National Office for Health & Nutrition and WatSan, Mrs Yandeva has left Nazran on a ten-day mission to UNICEF Skopje, Macedonia, in order to study UNICEF's health/nutrition programme there. The mission takes place in the framework of a capacity building plan amongst local programme staff and is supported by the RO in Geneva.
Moscow 19 December, 2002
Emergency Programme Team