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Russian Federation / Chechnya: New safe-play area for children in Grozny

04-11-2004 News Release 04/131

The first of a planned six safe-play areas to be built in Chechnya with the support of the ICRC opened today in the Staropromislovski district of Grozny.

Instead of risking their lives in potentially dangerous areas, neighbourhood children can now romp and frolic in their own newly equipped playground.

Landmines and explosive remnants of war such as grenades, unexploded artillery shells and other munitions pose a constant threat to children in Chechnya, many of whom are injured or killed when they step on landmines or pick up objects that turn out to be explosive devices. The number of children involved in such accidents since 1995 is estimated in the hundreds. Mine-risk education programmes seek to prevent accidents by informing children of the dangers of mines and explaining how they can be avoided. However, children still need to have places where they can play without risking their lives.

The new slides, swings and sandboxes that have been set up in the Staropromislovski playground will enable children to play without being hurt or even killed by mines or explosive munitions. Benches have also been installed so that parents and grandparents can keep an eye on the children while they are playing. Information boards designed by children living near the area are another important feature of the playground. Children can use these boards to inform others about the danger of mines.

The ICRC, with the support of the Norwegian Red Cross, initiated the " safe-play areas " project in the Caucasus to reduce the number of mine accidents involving children.

 For more information, please contact:  

 Olivier Bangerter, ICRC Nalchik, tel. +7 8662 44 23 41  

 Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Moscow, tel. +7 095 926 54 26  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 24 58