UNICEF Humanitarian Assistance in the Northern Caucasus Situation Report No. 60

27 January - 9 February, 2003
General situation

  • Progress has been achieved during the last three weeks in partnerships with institutions such as the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Chechnya in the provision of humanitarian aid to women and children.

  • The discontinuance of gas supplies to the non-governmental organisation (NGO) schools that are run by the People In Need Foundation (PINF), has however interfered with the smooth operation and running of the schools for the internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Malgobek region of Ingushetia.

  • A Dutch, German and Irish donor mission to the Northern Caucasus took place from 6-8 February. The donor group, together with the UN team, entered Chechnya on 7 February and visited some of the Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) and hospitals in Grozny.

  • A comprehensive study of UNICEF's emergency programme in the Northern Caucasus has started with the support of an external consultant. The document will review lessons learned and assist UNICEF in considering how to further improve programme effectiveness in the Northern Caucasus.

UNICEF Intervention

  • Update


- Schools

  • UNICEF-supported schools in IDP camps have been operating on a normal schedule with school attendance reported as being at adequate levels. The current supply of textbooks and established structures in the IDP schools ensures the IDP children the right to access to education. Despite the harsh conditions in the schools and camps, children continue to enjoy learning with their peers. In addition to the provision of academic instruction, emphasis has been put on psychosocial support activities in IDP schools to make learning and teaching favorable to children and teachers in child-friendly learning environments. It aims to reduce tension and alleviate post-conflict trauma from which almost all the school children and teachers suffer.

  • The International Rescue Committee (IRC) arranged a festival for IDP schools in Sleptsovskaya, Ingushetia. Over 1,500 children from 16 UNICEF-supported schools participated in concert and drama performances. The main purpose of the festival was to advocate peace and tolerance, with a hope for the IDPs return to their homes and normal life with adequate security. Winners of the festival were awarded with UNICEF-provided recreational items.

  • Vocational training activities, implemented with support of IRC and UNICEF, have commenced in the Center for Chechen Culture and Education Support in Grozny. Students have been provided an opportunity to participate in an English club, and computer and culinary training courses. All the necessary equipment and materials have been provided to facilitate these activities. The attendance rate is high: during one session 30 students can study English, and receive basic computer and cooking skills.

  • IRC organised a seminar for teachers in IRC-run schools on teaching methods for biology and mathematics. Upon the successful completion of the seminars, participants were given certificates. This type of teacher training has proven to be essential for skills and professional development in the camp schools.

  • UNICEF's implementing partner, Centre for Peacemaking and Community Development (CPCD), organised training at the Omega school for teachers from different IDP schools run by NGOs receiving UNICEF assistance such as IRC, Hilfswerk Austria (HWA), PINF and CPCD. Altogether, 60 teachers benefited from the training. It was followed by a round table discussion on class management, organisation of lessons, and available methodological materials.

  • The NGO Druzhba organised a festival "The Children of the Caucasus for Peace and Friendship" in Pyatigorsk City. It was an exciting exchange for children from different ethnic backgrounds and locations. Children from Ingushetia, Chechnya, North-Ossetia and Kabardino-Balkaria participated in the festival and exchanged views on various issues including the situation in the region, and the reduction of tension in society. The project was supported by the Institute of Open Society.

  • UNICEF's NGO partner PINF has organised various sport events among school children in Chechnya. There was a football tournament between the PINF-sponsored team "Prague"0 and a team from the Nadterechny region of Chechnya and also a volleyball game between School 48 and School 16. All of the sports events have shown that there is a great need for such activities to keep children morally and physically fit.

  • Within the framework of the Municipal and All-Russia Contest, PINF organised a writing contest for the composition entitled, "My dear grandmother". The winner's composition was sent to the Russian Ministry of Education in Moscow to ensure the participation and rights of school children from the Chechen Republic in all Russian educational events.
  • Kindergardens
  • With UNICEF's support, the NGO Caritas is in process of refurbishing three kindergardens handed over by HWA. The reconstruction work is being carried out to upgrade the conditions of the facilities. Caritas however, has not been allowed to put a fence around the kindergarden that is deemed necessary for many purposes, including sanitary reasons. Activities in the kindergarten focus on child growth and development.

Mine Action Programme (MAP)


  • UNICEF chaired the Interagency Coordination Meeting for Mine Action on 30 January 2003 in Nazran. The main focus of the meeting was on the current status of programmes. Partners were informed of a possible UNICEF programme monitoring mission to Chechnya to take place in the near future. The locations for visits have been identified. It was also decided to start a data exchange with the World Health Organisation (WHO), aimed at raising the effectiveness of joint interventions.

  • UNICEF held the second Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) coordination meeting, facilitated by the local implementing partner Voice of the Mountains (VoM). VoM, who manages the IMSMA database, also briefed the group on the overall status of the database and presented the latest statistical information. The total number of entries in the database is reported to be 1,570, with the overwhelming majority of incidents registered in Grozny. It was noted that the work of the NGOs involved in data collection has been complemented by lists submitted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Danish Demining Group, which account for more than 500 casualties. WHO and VoM also agreed on data exchanges on a regular basis.

Mine Risk Education (MRE)/ Mine Awareness (MA)

  • VoM conducted MRE sessions for 967 schoolchildren in Urus-Martanovski and Achkhoy-Martanovski districts in Chechnya and for about 280 school children in the Alina IDP camp in Ingushetia. The group also provided the children with UNICEF mine awareness pens and notebooks. Training sessions for MRE school teachers from Urus-Martanovski, Nadterechny and Sunzhenski districts in Chechnya have started. The teachers will be utilizing UNICEF's MRE booklets for course teaching.

  • Let's Save the Generation (LSG) accompanied 350 IDP school children to the Russian Academic Theatre in Vladikavkaz. Children from the spontaneous settlements in Ingushetia also participated in the MRE presentations, conducted by the LSG instructors.

Support to Mine Victims

  • The Prosthetic Workshop in Vladikavkaz that implements UNICEF's Prosthetics-Orthotics Project has developed an initiative to decrease the unit cost for all prosthetic devices by 10%. This initiative may be fixed in the budget for calendar year 2003 as their contribution to the programme. Within the reporting period, treatment for 9 mine/UXO affected children and adolescents has been completed through the provision of artificial limbs and physiotherapy. Additionally, the psychologist from New Education has consulted with 11 mine/UXO child victims and their mothers. Individual counselling, art, dance and music therapy have been used as the main intervention methods at the Prosthetic Workshop.

  • MIR, the regional television company, has launched a special programme about mine/UXO-affected children from the Jandare IDP camp who are currently enrolled in UNICEF's Psychosocial Assistance Programme. The programme is implemented by CARE International and New Education. Children demonstrated their talents through singing, dancing and acting. A joint concert by war-affected children who are currently attending the Rehabilitation Centre in the Satsita IDP camp and those who receive assistance in the specialized Medical-Psychosocial Centre in Vladikavkaz has also served as further evidence of children's gradual healing.

  • As part of UNICEF's wide-scale distribution of assistive devices for mine/UXO affected children and women, Minga reported the distribution of 17 wheelchairs in Shatoyski, Sharoyski and Itum-Kalinski districts of Chechnya.

Health and Nutrition

  • The National Centre for Prevention of Diseases was opened in Ingushetia on 1 January 2003. The Centre will organise and coordinate activities of health care facilities on the primary and secondary health care level for the purpose of disease prevention, sanitary-hygienic education, and to raise public awareness on basic health care issues. The MoH considers the initiative an important step in shifting from curative to preventive practices.

Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI)

  • The Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Chechen Republic has reported that UNICEF's support in 2002 has assisted in the development and improvement of the population's immunisation status. According to the Ministry, the general epidemiological environment remained complicated last year, although much has been done to keep it under control, especially in the field of vaccine preventable diseases.

  • In order to improve the paediatric immunisation status within the republic, the Chechen MoH has developed an action plan with the following components: equipment for the cold chain system on the level of health care facilities and health care posts in different towns and villages; provision of all health care facilities with adequate amounts of medical expendables, including disposable syringes; upgrading health care personnel with modern methodology on vaccination practices; and the preparation and dissemination of material to raise awareness. With positive donor response, UNICEF will continue supporting the MoH in this sector.

Mother and Child Health Care

  • MCH
  • The Ingush MoH reported that every fourth child under the age of one year who died last year in Ingushetia was from an IDP family. The infant mortality rate indicator among IDPs amounted to 27.2 per 1,000 live births, slightly higher than the already high rate for residents in the republic (25.6 in 2001). The average rate in Russia was 14.6 in 2001.

Mother Empowerment Programme - MEP

  • The Mother Empowerment Programme for the ID population in Ingushetia is being designed with the technical assistance of UNICEF in the Northern Caucasus. The project aims to develop and implement a set of activities to increase awareness and proactive participation of mothers and other primary care-providers in select aspects related to children's health, nutrition, and immunisation.

Water and Sanitation

  • UNICEF continues to provide potable water to residents of Grozny through its NGO partner, the Polish Humanitarian Organisation (PHO). Water is being delivered with the average capacity of 370 cubic metres per day. Installation of 27 new water bladders next week will eventually increase access to potable water for more beneficiaries.

  • Through sanitation activities conducted by the same partner, PHO, UNICEF maintained sanitation conditions in public and private sectors of Grozny. Garbage and sewage disposal took place on a daily basis at approximately 40 school and hospital sites during the reporting period.

  • The City Disinfecting Service Station of Grozny reported that timely and adequate treatment of many facilities in the city, including TACs, was possible due to UNICEF's donation of disinfecting materials.

Moscow, 10 February 2003 Emergency Programme Team