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Russian Federation/North Caucasus: ICRC responds to long-lasting needs

24-04-2012 Operational Update

In the North Caucasus, the ICRC has the double aim of helping people recover from the effects of past conflicts and helping those affected by the current armed violence.

According to media reports, almost 1,400 people were killed and wounded in the North Caucasus in 2011, compared to over 1,700 in 2010, and some 400 people were arrested in relation to the current situation. Dagestan registered the highest number of incidents and casualties, followed by Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria and Ingushetia.

The consequences of past conflicts in the North Caucasus are long lasting. Since 2000, the ICRC has registered over 2,300 people who went missing in the region. In addition, close to 700 servicemen are registered as missing with the Ministry of Defence. The families are still waiting for news of their relatives. "Tens of thousands of families in the North Caucasus and beyond have been affected in different ways over the years, and have different needs," said Juan Luis Coderque Galligo, head of the ICRC regional delegation in Moscow. "As a neutral and independent humanitarian organization, the ICRC works with the authorities, the Russian Red Cross and other partners to ease the suffering of these families, many of which are now headed by women."

  • With a 2012 budget of around 10 million US dollars and 200 staff for its humanitarian activities in the North Caucasus, the ICRC provides support and assistance to:
  • internally displaced persons;
  • families whose breadwinners have gone missing or have been detained;
  • families affected by the ongoing violence;
  • mine victims and people living in mine-affected areas;
  • children in need of psychosocial support;
  • vulnerable elderly people;
  • medical staff and medical institutions (in relation to emergencies);
  • people living in areas that have not yet fully recovered from past destruction.

Helping people recover self-sufficiency

To help the most needy, the ICRC implements micro-economic projects. Since it started in 2005, the programme has helped over 5,000 households start small family businesses in agriculture, livestock rearing, crafts, trades and other services and to acquire valuable skills through vocational training. In 2011 alone, the ICRC launched 656 micro-economic projects in Chechnya, Daghestan, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria.

Supporting families who have lost a breadwinner as a result of armed violence

The issue of missing persons remains a matter of concern. The ICRC therefore continues to raise awareness of the suffering endured by people who do not know what has happened to their relatives and to remind federal and local authorities of their obligation to provide answers. In addition, these families receive psychosocial and material support.

Thousands of families who have lost the breadwinner or other family member due to the ongoing violence are in need of psychosocial, economic and other forms of support. In 2011, the ICRC visited 230 of these families and assisted 106 of them through microeconomic projects and other programmes.

Helping relatives stay in touch

Under its protection programme, the ICRC finances visits for vulnerable families in the North Caucasus to relatives held in places of detention across Russia as a result of former conflicts and the current violence. In 2011, over 350 such visits took place and over 600 parcels were delivered to detainees on behalf of families unable to visit them.

Supporting medical staff and medical facilities

The ICRC trains and supports the training of medical personnel who work on surgery and traumatology wards. The organization also supports first aid services. In 2011, 80 doctors, paramedics and nurses benefited from this support. In addition, the ICRC maintains a contingency stock of drugs and consumables to support health facilities in case of a massive influx of casualties.

Helping mine victims and preventing mine accidents

Mines continue to blight people's lives in Chechnya. In addition, because mines and unexploded ordnance are not cleared and dangerous areas are not marked systematically, many people are unable to tend their fields, which are a major source of income, particularly in rural areas. ICRC-supported microeconomic projects offer them alternative ways of earning an income while reducing their exposure to the risk of mines. The ICRC also helps local authorities organize mine awareness seminars for children and public education workers.

Providing remote villages with clean water

Past conflicts and deteriorating infrastructure hamper access to water in some areas, particularly in remote villages affected by past conflicts in the south of Chechnya, so the ICRC is helping to upgrade water and sanitation systems. In 2011, 2,800 people obtained access to clean drinking water.

Promoting compliance with the law

Spreading knowledge of international humanitarian law and other legal instruments and standards among the authorities, armed and security forces, civil society organizations, professors, students, and media remains a key component of the ICRC’s activities in the North Caucasus. In 2011, the ICRC held 15 information sessions for over 400 interior ministry personnel in Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia.

Working with the Russian Red Cross

The ICRC supports Russian Red Cross (RRC) branches in the fields of emergency preparedness, restoration of family links, and social and psychological support to vulnerable people. Elderly people living alone and relatives of missing persons receive psychosocial support under the RRC Home Visiting Nurses Programme.

The ICRC supports the programme of first aid training for the population offered by RRC branches in several republics.

Children affected by conflict or other violence represent an especially vulnerable group. In 2011, over 400 children regularly attended playrooms in Chechnya and Ingushetia and 88 children attended the RRC psychosocial centre in Beslan, North Ossetia.

 

The ICRC has been working in the North Caucasus since 1992 and currently has offices in Grozny, Khasavyurt, Nalchik, Nazran and Vladikavkaz.

 

For further information, please contact:
Monique Nanchen, ICRC Moscow, tel: +7 495 626 5426
Victoria Zotikova, ICRC Moscow, tel: +7 495 626 5426 or +7 903 545 3934
Vassily Fadeev, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 536 92 48


Photos

Ingushetia. A woman stands next to a fridge in a cafeteria. The cafeteria belongs to the family of a missing person and the ICRC funded the fridges as part of a microeconomic project. 

Ingushetia. A woman stands next to a fridge in a cafeteria. The cafeteria belongs to the family of a missing person and the ICRC funded the fridges as part of a microeconomic project.
© ICRC / V. Zotikova

Chechnya. Construction work in progress on a water reservoir, part of a water supply system built by the ICRC in a remote village. 

Chechnya. Construction work in progress on a water reservoir, part of a water supply system built by the ICRC in a remote village.
© ICRC / V. Zotikova

Chechnya. An ICRC representative opens a photo exhibition in Grozny on the situation in the North Caucasus. 

Chechnya. An ICRC representative opens a photo exhibition in Grozny on the situation in the North Caucasus.
© ICRC / G. Balzamova

Beslan, North Ossetia. Children enjoy a painting session at the Russian Red Cross psychosocial centre. 

Beslan, North Ossetia. Children enjoy a painting session at the Russian Red Cross psychosocial centre.
© ICRC / M. Kokic