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Northern Caucasus: ICRC stalled in Chechnya

25-01-1996 News Release 96/3

Owing to the deterioration of the situation in Chechnya, the Russian authorities have since early January restricted travel by ICRC delegates in the region. Limitations have in particular been placed on their access to central Grozny. Distributions of relief supplies to help the most vulnerable people to survive the harsh Caucasian winter have consequently been suspended in the capital for the past ten days. Thanks to local ICRC employees, water is still being supplied to people in Grozny and Gudermes, and the community kitchen in the capital has remained open. However, no other assistance is possible. 

The ICRC is today meeting certain government officials in Moscow with a view to ending the impasse and obtaining the authorizations and guarantees needed to carry out all its activities for victims of the conflict. Their talks should continue in the days to come. Meanwhile, delegates are endeavouring to make similar contacts in Grozny.

The team of ICRC delegates dispatched to the Pervomayskoye area during the hostage crisis last week distributed medical supplies, food and blankets in nearby villages where about one thousand people - those who managed to get away in time - had taken refuge.