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Chechnya: concern for the civilian population in the south

01-06-1995 News Release 22

The ICRC continues to be extremely concerned about the situation in southern Chechnya. According to reports coming in from the area, that there have been many casualties among civilians fleeing the fighting. The ICRC stresses that combatants must make a distinction between military objectives and civilian property.

 The scourge of mines  

Civilians who have recently returned to the towns of Shali, Samashki and Argun are having to face the growing problem of anti-personnel mines. In Shali, the local authorities have advised people not to go more than 300 metres outside the town limits. Fear of mines and unexploded shells is preventing the inhabitants from working in their fields and feeding their livestock. So far there is enough food, but the situation is likely to deteriorate if farming cannot be resumed and displaced people continue to flood in.

 Fragile return to normality in Grozny  

Life has to some extent returned to normal in Grozny, where 275,000 people have gone back to their homes. The train service between Grozny and Mineral'nyje Vody is running again and the airport should reopen towards the end of the month. About 20 bus lines are operating in the city, half the post offices have reopened and classes are back to normal in some 50 schools. The ICRC has recently set up new offices in Grozny and is carrying on with all its activities, particularly in the medical sphere. Last week Hospital No. 4, which had been put back in operation by the ICRC, treated more than 200 inpatients and 550 outpatients.