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Russian Federation/Northern Caucasus: drinking water scarce in Grozny

04-09-1996 News Release 96/35

The last twenty months have witnessed fierce fighting between Russian federal troops and Chechen separatists, particularly in Grozny. Several times the city has been devastated. In August its key installations were hit again, leaving the population - currently estimated at 80,000 - without drinking water, electricity or medical care, all the hospitals having been destroyed or badly damaged during the fighting.

Providing drinking water to people in Grozny remains a priority for the ICRC. At the end of August, as soon as the situation allowed ICRC engineers access to the only serviceable pumping station in the city, distributions to the city's inhabitants resumed. Restored to an operational state, the pumping station set up by the ICRC in February 1995 now supplies 400,000 litres of chlorinated water daily. Of this amount, between 200,000 and 250,000 litres are transported by ICRC trucks, which feed storage tanks at numerous distribution points. This provides every inhabitant with an average of three litres of the precious liquid each day.

By next week, anticipating the gradual return of Grozny's inhabitants, the ICRC plans to increase its water distributions to 500,000 litres per day following the expected arrival of three more trucks - one provided by the Danish Red Cross - with a capacity of 20,000 litres each.

In addition, the ICRC's water and sanitation programmes in the region are continuing, for example at Gudermes, where 200,000 litres are distributed each day, and at Khasavyurt (Daghestan), where engineers are at work to get the city's main pum ping station operational again.