Russia

U.S. to contribute $3.3 million to UN Chechnya relief

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(State Department says humanitarian crisis worsening) (660)

The United States will donate $3.3 million to the United Nations for humanitarian relief in Chechnya and the North Caucasus, Deputy State Department Spokesman James Foley announced December 7.

Foley said the U.S. government "is deeply concerned about the welfare of people displaced by the conflict in Chechnya" and "calls on the Russian leadership to seek a political resolution to the conflict and to cease the indiscriminate use of force that has produced many civilian casualties and caused at least 238,000 people to flee the conflict zone."

The funds will come from the President's Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund (ERMA) and will support programs of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children's Fund, the World Health Organization, and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Last month "$3 million of the ERMA fund was provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help address the most urgent needs caused by the conflict in Chechnya," Foley noted.

Following is the text of the press statement:
U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
December 7, 1999
Press Statement by James B. Foley, Deputy Spokesman

CHECHNYA: U.S. CONTRIBUTES $3.3 MILLION TO UN HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS

The U.S. Government is deeply concerned about the welfare of people displaced by the conflict in Chechnya. The U.S. Government calls on the Russian leadership to seek a political resolution to the conflict and to cease the indiscriminate use of force that has produced many civilian casualties and caused at least 238,000 people to flee the conflict zone.

On November 12, the President authorized the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) to use $10 million from his Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund (ERMA) to respond to the humanitarian emergency in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation.

The UN issued a three-month Interagency Flash Appeal for the Northern Caucasus on November 23. In response to the appeal, we will provide $3.3 million from the ERMA to support the programs of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This includes: $2.6 million for UNHCR, $341,000 for UNICEF, $230,020 for WHO, and $154,000 for OCHA. These programs address the humanitarian needs created by the crisis in Chechnya and provide relief and protection to the displaced in Ingushetiya, Daghestan and other regions of the Russian Federation. This contribution equals about 32 percent of the appeals of each of these four agencies.

The balance of $3.7 million will be used to respond to future requirements beyond the three-month period of this appeal.

Early in November, $3 million of the ERMA fund was provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help address the most urgent needs caused by the conflict in Chechnya.

The humanitarian crisis in the northern Caucasus is worsening as Russia continues its campaign against the Chechen rebels. Russia bears primary responsibility for addressing humanitarian needs created by the conflict in Chechnya and must ensure that all borders between Chechnya and neighboring regions remain open to displaced persons. At least 238,000 have been displaced by fighting in Chechnya and Digestion, and Russia's military response to insurgent attacks has led
large numbers of civilians to flee to Ingushetiya and other neighboring areas.

The international community's efforts, primarily through ICRC and UNHCR, are an important supplement to the humanitarian assistance the Russian Government must provide. The U.S. Government is especially grateful to ICRC and UNHCR for their courageous efforts in the North Caucasus. The international community looks to the Russian Government to cooperate with the international humanitarian assistance efforts, and provide full access and security.